Put your iPod on random shuffle, write down the lyric of the first song that comes on, and use it as an opening line.
“Drunk Last Night” – Eli Young Band
I got a little drunk last night. Not wasted, not completely shit-faced. But drunk enough to forget how loudly I was speaking, drunk enough to think approaching a couple of strange boys was a good idea, drunk enough to flirt (in my own way). And it felt good. It felt right. I was vivacious, easy to talk to, and relaxed. I laughed, I sang, I made funny quips and was quick on my feet. I was the life of the damn party. And it felt like I was channeling… me. A younger me. A me that didn’t think it took bravery and guts to talk to boys, to make jokes, to go to a new bar.
What ever happened to her? She was such a fun girl to be. She didn’t need alcohol to socialize with strangers or try new things. She was always game for an adventure. Late-night Denny’s run with people she’d only ever really interacted with online? Dressing up for a prix fixe dinner at a glamorous restaurant, followed by dancing at a nightclub in downtown San Diego? Going to a country bar for the first time ever? Yes, yes, and hell yes. This girl did all of those things, and then some. She made friends easily, because she was a good listener, a good sport, and always down to have a good time. She loved, honestly and painfully. She lived through loss and change.
How did this girl, this fun, happy, confident, smart girl, become me? When did she start caring so much what other people thought of her? When did she settle for surviving, as if that was all that mattered, as if that was enough? When did she become timid and afraid – of approaching strangers, of new experiences, of getting hurt?
Pain is real. It hurts. It leaves scars. And some pains, you don’t ever get completely over. So you buckle down. Survive it. Show you’re stronger than it. Put on a face – stoic, tough, impassive – anything but vulnerable. Don’t show weakness. Never mind that they aren’t looking, or that, if they are looking, they may not interpret it as weakness. Never mind what “it” is that you think is weak. Don’t show it! You’re a survivor! Keep on surviving!
Surviving wasn’t good enough, just a few years ago. When did it become good enough? When will I realize that it isn’t?