Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wild Child

I have a good friend named Kristin, who I am going to be traveling through Europe with in about 10 days. Kristin and I were raised in similar families: upper middle class, happily married parents, strong foundation in community and church, etc. We both felt enormous pressure to be the "perfect" girls. The ones who people looked at and said: "what a fantastic young lady." And being a "fantastic young lady" never felt like it included being a "normal" teenager. It meant never drinking, never staying out past our curfew, never sneaking out of the house...all of which meant never having any fun to Kristin and myself.

I tried to play the part of the good girl, but my heart was never truly in it. I wanted to stay out all night. I wanted to be a party girl. I wanted anything that was drastically different from what my parents thought was right.
Kristin and I figured out our own little manipulative ways of keeping up appearances to our parents, to the community and to the school that we were still perfect little angels that never did anything wrong. As could be expected, it didn't last forever and after one forgettable St. Patrick's Day during my junior year of high school, the halo slipped off, I fell from the pedestal, I was grounded for a month, and my actions were monitored much closer from then until high school graduation day. I won't go into the details, but in the words of myself at 16 - it sucked.

That curbed any rebellion for awhile. But after graduation...all bets were off. It started with our parents being out of town and continued for about three and a half years into college. Maybe it was a sign of deeper issues, or just the freedom of being able to stretch out my wings, but I went wild in college. I joined a sorority which practically shoved a drink in your hand the minute you rushed.

I was hung over on my first ever day of college. Please keep in mind that this was an 8:00 class on a Monday morning.

I enjoyed the drinking and the partying. I enjoyed looking cute, going out with a big group of girls and that feeling of having an entire night full of interesting possibilities. Who would we meet? What drama would unfold, which we would always rehash the next morning? Would that cute guy from the party call? (PS - he never ever called) How would the girls in our rival sororities drunkenly embarrass themselves, for which we would revel in the idea that we a superior, classier group of women? Neverminding the fact that it had, in fact, been us the week before making complete fools of ourselves on the back patio of RBar in front of a group of ZTAs or KKGs.

I was NOT, by far, the hardest drinker of the bunch. Those girls were weeded out quickly by the end of freshman year. They just drifted away...and none of their "sisters" ever cared to find out what happened to them, or to even worry about their drinking problem in the first place. But I had my moments when I would somehow find myself waking up on the bathroom floor, wondering how I had gotten home. I am completely ashamed to admit this to you, whether you are my friends, my family or my coworkers.

And through all the insanity, the post flag football drinks at State Club, the pre partying before and after Date Parties, and the pre partying before RBar and then to the frat houses after RBar...I somehow kept my grades up. It was like, if I was doing well in school...then there wasn't a problem.

If I met the 19 year old version of myself right now out at a party...I wouldn't like her. I would see her as a stupid, young, brat who had no idea of the manner in which she was presenting herself. I still see girls like this at the bar and they absolutely disgust me.

So...when did it all stop? When did I grow up?

Well, up until my junior year of college (I was still 20) drinking had been fun. Luckily, I had survived the first few years of college drinking without a ticket, an arrest, or being physically/mentally/emotionally damaged in any way. Drinking was fun - it was something to do at the end of the week...I had never truly experienced the darkest depths of what drinking could do to someone.

Then I met him. I met and fell in love with an alcoholic that made me so terrified of drinking. I saw the effects that it had on him and I tried my damnest to stay sober - someone in the relationship had to be. He literally scared me straight.

But, I think he's been given more than enough discussion in this blog already.

And you're probably asking yourself: What does all this have to do with anything?

Since graduating college, I have been living in two completely separate worlds and it is getting exhausting being two people.

Half of me is a teacher - a person who is respected in the community, someone who has a huge responsibility to be a role model to impressionable teenagers.

The other half of me is still that wild party girl from college. I'm only 23 - just because I graduated college doesn't mean that I'm going to lay down and die.

Maybe it all comes back to that point of I always saw my own teachers on this pedestal, and I think that I have to live up to this impossible ideal of who I should be, and how I should live my life.

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