Alright, I’m keeping it real: we ALL have some unforgivably cringeworthy moments. Some have more than others, and I just might fall into that category. I am trying to come to terms with them bit by bit, but sometimes it’s damn impossible to do so. If I could write letters to my younger selves, each would end with “Would future you be pleased by this?”
Answer? No. Not one fucking bit.
Let me give you just one single example of a particularly cringeworthy moment in my life. I was a hot mess when I was 20. Some people may argue that not much has changed since then. Some people can go fuck themselves with something hard and sand-papery.
Things had finally fizzled out between my high school crush and I, and after four years, it was about damn time. There was no more confusion after that, no more conflict, no more wishing, hoping, and praying. I didn’t look back on that period of time fondly, or see it as a learning experience. After everything my crush and I had been through, and after all we put each other through, all that was left was bitterness and vodka. Lots of vodka.
At the time, I was working in retail and trying my hardest to find my way in community college. It was a weird transitional period for me. I returned from a trip to France and The Netherlands at the start of the year and found myself in the position of being caretaker to my baby sister while my parents were at work. I was also attending school full-time and working 20 hours a week. My parents were also putting extra pressure on me to “figure out what I wanted to do with my life.” When I wasn’t in school or working, or upholding any of my responsibilities, I was definitely partying. Partying was a better alternative to, well, everything else.
My friends at the time were just as confused about life as I was. Most were gearing up to graduate from college at the time and they had even less of a clue about what to do with their lives than I did. Maybe that’s why we all got along; we could relate to each others’ fears and anxieties about getting older and doing grown up things. Looking back, however, alcohol was the only uniting factor, and there is probably good reason why we don’t talk much these days.
I was (and probably still am) a loose-lipped drunk. I will talk about anything and everything when I’m inebriated, no matter how personal, and no matter what company I’m in. Another problem I used to face as a heavy drinker was being the kid who vomits at every party without fail. I ruined furniture, clothing, whatever was in my path. But people still invited me to parties, and I still gladly accepted invitations. A little puke means nothing in the grand scheme of friendship, I suppose.
It was June and my spring semester had just ended, kicking off summer vacation. A friend of mine had access to his parents’ house for the weekend and decided to throw a party to inaugurate the start of summer. When I arrived, I was immediately in awe of the place: It was a secluded single family home in the back of the woods with an impressively stocked outdoor bar and the most spacious, amazing backyard I had ever seen. Of course throwing a loud, raucous party there made sense.
The usual crew assembled, but each member of the crew brought at least one friend with them. There were new people to mingle with and this made me anxious, and the more anxious I became, the more I attempted to drink the anxiety away. And the more I drank, the more of an ass I became.
As luck would have it, my high school crush’s former band mates were there, and they were guests of the host of the party. I immediately recognized them; they stood by the bar area, drinking and having a good time, oblivious to who I was because, as I found out, my crush had not mentioned me in the four years that he and I had known each other. We made eye contact, me and the lead singer, but my image did not jog a single memory in his brain. I was nothing to those guys, a stranger. They had no idea what their friend had done to me over the course of four years.
And, being sufficiently drunk, I decided I was going to tell them.
I positioned myself close enough to overhear the conversation the band mates were having and waited for an opportune moment to squeak my way into said conversation. It took no time at all. Within minutes, I was in and we were laughing, pounding shots of Jägermeister, and having a grand old time. I was mixing drinks indiscriminately while talking to the lead singer, mixing peppermint schnapps with some kind of vodka and soda, not paying attention to proportions or good taste.
And then the lead singer brought up my crush. I finally had my clear shot and I fucking took it.
Once I heard his name and how he had graduated from college, I unleashed an onslaught on my crush’s character, bringing up details that had no business being mentioned. Overkill was an understatement. The lead singer looked stunned; I’d like to think he was gaining insight into part of the last four years of which he knew nothing about. In reality, however, he realized very quickly he was stuck with the drunk and scorned lover, without a mop and bucket to clean up the mess. He humored me, which lead me to believe he was being as kind as possible. After a while, the look on his face said loud and clear that this was not the first time he had humored a girl over this topic of conversation.
And then my guts began to bubble.
That peppermint schnapps/vodka/soda combination was working it’s way back up my esophagus and I was nowhere near a bathroom. My eyes widened like a deer in the headlights, and with a slurred “I gotta go,” I put my hand over my mouth and bolted toward the bathroom, not knowing where it was. I found out on that night that when I’m drunk, I run less like a gazelle and more like a baby duck waddling in a rushed manner towards the bathroom.
I didn’t make it to the bathroom. I didn’t even make it close to the bathroom. I woke up hours later, face-first in my vomit, surrounded by other sleeping bodies packed like sardines in the family room. As I tiptoed out of the house and into my car, it occurred to me that I probably should have been courteous and cleaned the rug that I had puked on. I drove home as the sun rose, too embarrassed by my actions, having finally sealed my reputation as “the crazy chick that pukes.”
“Would future you be pleased by this?”
Go fuck yourself.