I came home from a night of shots and confusion. Everything was blurry and in slow motion. Down deep, I wasn’t this superficial “party” girl. I was the book-loving, word-loving girl.
Mom always valued the superficial. It was important how I appeared to others. If I looked okay. If I “didn’t act up.”
In the two years I dropped out of college, I was educated by the school of hard knocks. My self-esteem was in the toilet. The depression hit such a point that I’d lie in bed with my dog who crapped on the bed. I recall staring lifelessly at the dog poop and thinking I just have nothing. I can’t move. I’m stuck to this day bed.
The sounds of a large Hispanic family who lived upstairs floated through the cardboard thin ceiling. I didn’t know the language, but I was raised with the sound of raised voices, angry voices. I soon learned at twenty-two that anger was a universal sound, transcending time and space, language. The fight ended with a loud thud, a shaking ceiling, and a women crying.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was angry. Rather than scream, shout, bang on walls, I lifelessly lay in bed and examined the small window, the non-descript white ceiling. The anger was poisoning me. Eating me from the inside out.
Years later when I felt that familiar pull into the darkness where I might just curl up and die this time, I’d reflect on how much of my young adulthood was spent in bed, slowly dying, not living. These are years I can never get back.
I thought I was over this, but clearly I’m not. It emerges organically as I free write. I don’t think I ever gave that girl any thought. The girl who grew so tired and found herself staring at dog poop. Ironically, she was the extension of the girl who tried to be perfect, please her mother, do something great so people would notice she was good. Notice she was worth something, something besides a big nothing. The girl was exhausted by the end of her freshman year of college.
I recall a few of my favorite professors arching an eyebrow asking what happened. Why wasn’t I-the girl-writing for the Newspaper anymore? I admired my professors so much. It was embarrassing.
By the end of freshman year, my GPA fell from a 4.0 to a 3.7 and I thought I was a failure. I honest to God thought this was rational.
Copyright bdl 2015