I read somewhere (read=watched a lot of Law and Order: SVU) that when face-to-face with someone armed and dangerous, the best move is to spew out fun facts that humanize you. Don’t worry—there’s no one holding a gun to my head as I type. Currently, the biggest threat to my well-being is an 8-week old psychopath disguised as a kitty who is fond of attacking limbs and pretending he thought they were toys the whole time. Actually, the biggest threat to me right now is whoever is reading this, so cheers to you, Reader. Be kind.
Before you crucify me as a drunk, as a cliché binge drinking college student (apologies, I couldn’t master a better role), I’d like to make my confession. I yell at television screens, kiss my kitties on the forehead an uncomfortable amount and fall in love with boys’ shadows every Tuesday of the month. I’m a bit of a nerd, but that’s OK. I got a bumper sticker that reads, “Shakespeare is my main squeeze”—that’s a lie, but I do have Rory Gilmore’s pride. I do not, however, have her baby blue eyes, petite frame or sharp mind. I have frizzy hair, a forehead the size of Kayne’s ego, dad jokes that land well about 50 percent of the time, what I suspect is a premature beer belly and a bag of Cheetos. I get hungry at night.
Now, if you can believe it, I used to be worse in high school. Outrageously self-conscious, introverted, a bit boring and chubby. I fell in love with teachers often and wrote bad poetry at night. I did though, like a seemingly suburban teenager, enjoy the occasional house party where I sipped on anything my friend’s older sister had bought cheap. Before you go thinking, Plot twist. She was a 17-year-old badass, I must admit I was so cautious that I never let myself even cross the threshold of tipsy. I made a liar out of J-Kwon often. Except one questionable night around Christmas when I pretended to both woo and then marry a stuffed elf I found in my friend’s basement storage unit. Overall, I was mind-numbingly tame.
Maybe it was because I never quite found my alcoholic sweet tooth—it was usually tequila shots and then coconut rum and how much of that can a girl really do? Maybe it was because the opportunities to party in Nowhere, New Hampshire were slim to none. Maybe it was because I feared getting caught like I feared spiders who I never invited to my bathroom but crawled in all the time, never bearing housewarming gifts. One history teacher told ghost stories about cops busting underage drinking parties—a disaster followed by the graver tragedy of revoking college acceptance letters of bright, young (unconscious-at-the-time) minds. That one got me good.
Freshman year of college followed sober suit. There were some poor decisions, sure—shout out to the night I dressed up as Kesha for Halloweekend 2014 that ended prematurely when I tried to rub my face glitter on one too many stranger’s butt. But most of the time, I was overwhelmed with keeping up with homework, pretending to look cute while working out at the Plex and trying to strike up friendships with classmates by musing about John Krasinski naked. Just imagine how successful that was.
Making up for lost time is the best excuse for my sophomore year mentality, which, translated roughly, was “Let’s get turnttttttt.” I did, in fact, believe the club could go up on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday—and why not throw the Lord’s day into this mixed drink? For sure, I went 100 percent too far. But “Why not?” is a lame excuse for why I decided to give Lord Tyrion a run for his whorehouse money. It does not explain, neatly, why I used to think, “Mm, I’m going to take this shot of Smirnoff and be sexy.” Perhaps I’ve always found the idea of drinking to become a better (or at least more amplified) version of yourself to be not only appealing, but quite romantic—there was something very Hemingway about the notion. Cheap vodka became a book I couldn’t put down.
The tipping point should have been the night my friends got me to the bathroom stall, yelled encouraging directions and then realized I had already puked on my forearms facing the stall door. Turning around is hard. The real tipping point, however, was the night I played beer pong, kissed a boy my roommate had liked big time, puked all over the Comm Ave bus and then ended up in the hospital with blurry memories that brushed across my conscious like a mother’s warm fingertips. The call to my mother the next day was full of sobs.
I have more stories about the nights I wasn’t caught. How a friend had to drag me Ferris Bueller style by a cop one night. How I ended up in the infirmary instead of at Plexapalooza because drunk eyes are a debilitating family trait. How another night, a 10-minute walk back to my friends’ and my dorm became 30 because I kept taking hyperventilating tbt breaks to some guy’s chest tattoo and rippling arms.
Surprisingly, I still do have friends. And I’ve become more acquainted with the term “social drinking” while trying to forget my binge drinking habits on people’s welcome mats. Sometimes, they still follow me in the door. But vodka is no longer a plus one of my personality and carrying me up flights of stairs is no longer a required test of friendship. So sorry again, Luke.
It’s been (I think) four months since I got so drunk that I confused the floor for my bed. That’s a start.