I wish I could say love was the only drug in my past relationships.
Over the last six years, I have intentionally slapped myself in the face to say the least with a relationship that was doomed for failure from the very beginning. It all started when I was entering high school. I met individuals who completely changed my life for the better and individuals who completely destroyed it. One specific person put a burden on me, and to be perfectly honest I don’t know how to get rid of his presence in my life. I feel nothing because of him; I’m so empty on the inside and I constantly crave danger or dangerous situations. To tell you all the truth, he really did ruin a good portion of my life.
I went from being a scholar student to snorting lines of cocaine off bathroom sinks in bars and then illegally driving down the 401. If I have to tell the truth it was fun for a very short amount of time. Thankfully, I do not have an addictive personality and the few times hard drugs were in my system I never craved them again. I wish I could say the same about him but everyone has their reasons as to why they do certain things. I will not sit here and say the things we did were ok but many of the things I did were because of how others treated me (mainly him).
Here are some things to expect when dating an addict:
They will never love you; they are in love with themselves and the drugs their body yearns for
The drug addict never realizes what they have and what they will lose. They are their only priority; YOU will never be the priority. This took me such a long time to believe. I thought that he loved me and that everything would change. I didn’t think he was as addicted as everyone saw him to be because after a while it was normal to me. After about two years of dealing with the addiction, we constantly fought and we fought to the point where the police were involved. I still remember crying in a staircase at 6:45 in the morning after he kicked me out of his house in the middle of the night while I was extremely intoxicated or the time he cheated on me with a prostitute and he filmed it. Even though all this was evolving in front of me, I still wanted to believe he was a great person. The next morning he called, told me he was sorry and that he loved me for being there. Of course, I forgave him and this happened at least thirty more times.
They will use you for your money and scam you into ways of getting money from you
I used to write letters, call him, take him to concerts, pay for all the drinks at the bar, and finally pay for our vacations. I did all this while attending university and being a student with a minimum wage job. Yes, it sucked. I got used for my money, my feelings, and my love for another human being all so they could support an addiction that did not involve me. He told me he couldn’t afford anything, ever. We dated for a very long time and I can’t remember a date where he paid for dinner or even for my coffee. It took me a year to pay off all the debt he put me into, but it was my own fault I never said no. I didn’t think it was ok to say no.
They will expect you to do drugs with them and 99.9% of the time you will ACCEPT the offer
A person you love offers you a little bit of cocaine after the bar, what are you going to do? Say no? How would that play out after being emotionally scarred for four years? Most women will say yes, they will agree just to get out of the argument. I said yes because I was at the point in doing anything I could to keep my relationship together. He loved it and he got a great night out of it all followed by more alcohol, sex and a cab ride home. Meanwhile, I was at home shaking in my bed thinking I was going to die considering I have a previous health history of seizures and an irregular heart beat at times.
They can be extremely fun people to be around but you have to realize they are NOT living in reality
Sure going to the bar and getting completely loaded on a Monday night seems fun but it’s extremely unrealistic. He doesn’t have to wake up for work the next morning, but guess what YOU probably do–and you know if you call in sick one more time you’re going to get fired. Staying up every night till 6am is also not realistic because you have to be up at 8am for work and he once again DOESN’T.
They will most likely quit their jobs/school and have very bad relationships with their families/friends because their addiction is more important
This brings me right back to number 4, most likely the addict will not have a job and they wont attend any type of post secondary education. They will have very bad relationships with your parents/friends and their own parents due to the fact that they do nothing all day long and are extremely sensitive when the idea of a job or attending school is brought up. They get very defensive because they are beginning to realize that the addiction is real.
You are constantly worried about their safety and pray for them to live through the night
No one will understand that after a while you develop an addiction yourself. Not to the drugs themselves but to the person. This doesn’t happen because you love them, this happens because you are so invested into trying to fix their life. One minute they are getting back on track and the next they come home with a giant stab wound across a part of their body at 3am and you don’t know what to do. You’re afraid that they won’t wake up one morning. I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I thought he was going to die. I would wake up in the middle of the night and he would be lying next to me not breathing. I do not wish this upon anyone; the cold chill that crawls down your spine while you try to revive someone is horrifying.
No matter how many tears have crawled down my face over the years, the money I spent, and the feelings I invested I will never feel sorry for myself. I will never truly understand the attraction that kept me around for so long. Maybe I felt bad for him; maybe he was around to teach me a lesson. At the end of the day the best thing to do is run. If you are or ever were in a situation similar to mine just run away. No matter how much it hurts, it will hurt you more to stay.
I know how to be alone better than anything else. Alone at a restaurant, alone at the movies, while taking a long drive. I know how to be alone in my bed during brutal winter nights, when all I need is another body under my blankets. And when the air is so hot and thick, I can’t imagine anything touching my skin. During holidays when every other person in the room has somebody to love. I know how to be alone when everything is crumbling into a thousand pieces and there is no body by my side while I try to pick them up. And while I am on top of the world, when nothing can tear me down.
I have mastered the art of being alone. During my best and worst self. I know how to make it, and live fully through life with no one next to me.
What I don’t know, is how to share my life with another person. The small moments, the only ones that truly matter. I don’t know how to cuddle with someone into the early mornings, kissing their forehead while they’re in that moment between awake and asleep. I don’t know how to bring somebody to family parties, work functions, or to the bar to have a drink with my friends.
I don’t know how to share my life with somebody when I’m having the worst day. When every single thing goes wrong and I just want to yell and scream and eat an entire pint of frozen yogurt. During the cool autumn nights, walking under a sky plastered with stars. While I try to make dinner, or watch reruns of my favorite TV shows. I don’t know how to share my life with someone while I’m at my happiest. When I cant stop laughing, and I just want to soak up the beauty in everything.
I have truly mastered the art of being alone.
I know how to take care of myself, I am independent, and I don’t need anybody for anything. But I’m realizing how much fuller life can be with somebody by my side. To hear someone else’s laughter with my own, to look over at somebody and know they are thinking the same thing I am. The comfort of laying next to somebody in complete silence. Having somebody to go to the grocery store with, or take a drive, or talk about nothing and everything deep into the night. I’m really good at being alone. But more than anything, I want to learn how to share my life with another person.
1. Everyone you know, included extended family, will call you to get in touch with them for tech support
I’m talking everyone. Your sister’s boyfriend, your aunt’s secretary at work, her grandma’s live-in nurse. You’ll get phone calls from extended family members that will start pleasantly enough as they ask you how things are going before inevitably bringing up your significant other in conversation. They’ll next ask the next time you’re going to bring him or her to a family function, followed quickly by a subtle hint that they may need help in the technical area. This will happen all the time. Even your dad, who refused to hire anyone to finish the bathroom in the basement of your parents house and now has a forever running toilet, will ask for help every now and again. Embrace it, and make sure to treat your SO really well every time they have to explain to someone related to you that unplugging machinery doesn’t always solve the problem.
2. Instead of roses or jewelry, they’ll create you an app
My SO and I were in a long distance relationship for the first 4 months of dating. Instead of sending me flowers or chocolates, he built me an app that counted down the days until he would be home. Adorable, right?
Someone asked me once why I thought it was such a big deal that he built me an app; ‘He builds apps for a living, why is it so impressive?’ they asked. After getting them some ice to put on their face after I bitch slapped them, I explained that it was really was the thought that counts. He created something for me that not everybody has. He took time and effort to build something just for me. I’d take that over roses any day. But maybe not jewelry.
3. You’ll realize the only thing in the world they love more than you is his laptop
When I went to go visit my SO for an extended weekend, I fell in love with the way he looked at me. He made me feel beautiful, special, and unique… up until I saw the way he looked at his laptop. The way his deft fingers traipsed across her keys. The way he handled her with care. The way he referred to it as ‘her’. I’m not saying that he has the same emotional connection with his laptop as he does with me, but I know that in the event of a fire, it’s not me he’s going to be reaching for.
4. They’ll routinely start speaking in code which will sound like Elvish to you
Since you care about your SO, you’ll occasionally ask them how work is going for them. All of a sudden, something magical will happen. They’ll open their mouth to speak, but instead of words, you’ll hear sound. Their eyes might go bright, they might sit up a little straighter, they might start talking with their hands; you’ll see that they’ve gotten really excited and animated to tell you something, but you’ll have no idea what they’re saying. You’ll hear the words Java and CoffeeScript and immediately latch onto that idea, thinking they hit up a new cafe on the way home. When you ask about CoffeeScript and where it is, your significant other will smile and laugh lovingly at your naivety. Code will become an integral part of your life. Those moments, in the morning or after really good sex, where you’re cuddled and your SO is drawing figure 8′s or random patterns on your back? It’s not random. It’s code.
5. You’ll have to remind them to Google things
I hesitated at first to put this on the list since it had only happened once when I started writing. It has since happened 3 more times. It’ll be the simplest of things; how do you poach salmon? how can I cook with white wine? how do I get to this museum? What is Lourde saying at the end of the chorus in her song ‘Team’? Your SO will likely pose these questions aloud and hope for the best. And when you tell them to google it, their chuckle and have an ‘aw, shucks’ moment as if they forgot Google existed. It might seem condescending at first, but don’t be fooled. There is a very good chance they just forgot.
6. They’ll be really impressed when you do something relatively technologically competent
This will happen without notice. You’ll be sitting beside them on the sofa, your SO with their laptop and you with your tablet or phone or ereader or other technological device, when all of a sudden they’ll say ‘Whoa. Do that again!’. You’ll hold down the home button and close another app and their eyes will go wide as they look at you in an entirely new light. The same thing will happen if you fix your own wifi, routinely scan your laptop for viruses, or know how to handle a blue screen a death. If you can handle technological downsides without a mental break down, you’ll be gazed lovingly upon by your SO.
Despite these things, you’ll still love them. Weird technological dependencies and all.
You’re young, you’re free and you’re empowered. Nothing is stopping you from espousing a carefree attitude and and embarking on fun adventures!
As young women in 21st century, the world is truly our fragrant oyster.
Don’t get me wrong, women are still oppressed to a monumental degree. The patriarchy is still an omnipresent overlord, endorsing cultural structures that keep women from realizing their full potential and contribute to a harrowing loss of self-esteem, especially to women who don’t fit into society’s straightjacket-like norms of what a woman should be like. However, we must remember and celebrate the fact that, thanks to the brave endeavors of so many strong and independent women, from the fierce suffragettes in early 20th century to the fearless women of the fat acceptance movement today, young women have it better than our mothers and grandmothers did in their youth.
Here are 5 things every 20’s woman should do to truly bask in the glory of empowerment:
1. Mess around
Sexual liberation has done so much for women everywhere, and while our government still refuses to provide us with what we are more than entitled to (free abortions and free birth control) we still have lots of opportunities to have casual hookup fun and flirty, bubbly flings without being burned at the stake by judgmental cisgendered old men with white beards.
Your twenties are all about you. It’s a time for discovering yourself, your strengths, and your weaknesses, but most of all it is to do what feels right in the moment, have fun. You know that barista with the bristly mustache at your local coffee joint, the one with the squinty eyes and creative tattoos that just make you tingle and forget all about your pretty frappuccino, have a tumble in the haystack with him. You know that drug dealer with the shaved head and the facial piercings, the guy with the forearms that make you melt and who might have been to jail more times than Paula Deen has uttered a racist slur, do him too. And I musn’t forget the six foot three football playing frat guy that you see making love to a beer bong every weekend, he might not be an algebra wiz, but he doesn’t need math to know the right angle to thrust at.
Me and my girlfriends have a mantra, “If he makes you tingle, let him eat you like a Pringle.” This is something to live by for all twenty something women. Sure, he’s not gonna buy you any nice gifts, send you cute texts that make you feel like the only girl in the world and you might burn your feet on the hot sand of many exoduses of shame, but lord is he hot.
Sorry (#notsorry) to all the creepy, short guys who come up to me and my girlfriends at the bar, the library or in the street, you don’t have a chance, so do us a huge just leave us alone. Maybe we’ll want you in our thirties, but now you’re just a pathetic peasant fawning over a princess. Just stop it.
Anyone who doesn’t let lose and party in their twenties is probably not worthing even talking to. Like. Ever.
Become best friends with the bartenders at your local bars and clubs, try every drink at least once and then do it all over again. And if the mixologist is cute, you know what (or who) to do after closing time in the back room. Make sure never to pay for drinks though, you’re better than that. You’re young and free and women haven’t come this far just to throw away their salary on alcohol when chic shoes are so expensive. (Yes we live in a world where women’s shoes are more expensive than mens, thanks patriarchy.) Believe me there’s always some chump buying you shots thinking he’ll ever have a shot. Puhleaase. Dance like no one is watching, scream, shout and sing with your girl friends until closing hours. Nothing is stopping you from being the wild and crazy girl you always wanted to be.
Try whatever you can get your hands on. I hate to use the expression, cuz it makes me seem like I’m not that special, but you only live once, afterall. Go to concerts and get backstage afterwards with the cute long haired members of that band you like. Take those cute little yellow and pink pills they give you and hoover that table clean of white powder, then have some fun with their instruments, (both kinds). Sure, drugs can be dangerous, but only if you get addicted and that’s unlikely to happen–we’re strong independent women, it shouldn’t be so hard to not be dependent on drugs. And if we became addicted, so what? That’s just another adventure, and to anyone who disagrees, that’s just junkie-shaming. Just live in the moment and give everything a try or two, apart from maybe Meth and Heroin, you don’t want to shatter those dreams of becoming a model. Party on girls. You deserve it.
3. Major in women’s studies
This one is a no-brainer. If you don’t agree you’re probably an ignorant, sexist, transphobic, slut-shaming mysogynist cis white male and possibly a rapist.
Women’s studies is not just a college course, it’s a way of life. You learn so much about yourself and the sometimes, frankly, evil society that we live in. You will graduate a knowledgable unafraid young woman who will see the world through a warm and loving lens of social justice.
You will see the structures in society, laid out by white hetrosexual men, that still to this day serve to treat women like second class citizens. You will have learned about herstory, the amazing stories of impressive feats that women of color have achieved without being recorded in the history books, and how almost all inventions throughout history were actually invented by women, most who had the credit taken from them by oppressive men. Women’s studies is not only about learning about the oppression of women, it’s about studying the oppression of all groups that aren’t privileged. You will have added able-ism, class-sim and sizeism and many other concepts of cultural oppression to your mental dictionary and you feel so powerful because of it.
Women’s studies gives you invaluable tools to have in life and makes you feel so empowered that nothing can stop you, not only your future career in whatever prestigious field you may choose, but also in your daily life. I last used the rich arsenal of feminist weapons that Women’s studies gave to me this morning to call out a disgusting male Mcdonalds employee. I was feeling peckish so I ordered three happy meals, the order was placed on two trays, and even though I was on the phone, that loser thought it was OK to talk to me. Rape apologist. He asked me if I wanted help carrying the trays to my kids. I quickly put the call on hold and gave him a lesson in not practicing fat-shaming and sexism anywhere in my presence, and nowhere else for that matter. I got him to check his privilege and I felt a warm glow of satisfaction spreading through my body as I sat down, drenched my fries in Ketchup and went to town on my first burger.
4. Run a tumblr
In case you have been under a rock since, like, 2005, you know that Tumblr is the most important website of our generation. It is such a vibrant place filled with all the right kind of people. There are so many social justice blogs that it would take a million and a half years to read them all, but that’s okay, reading them all would probably make you literally *trigger warning* explode with joy.
Post. A lot. Running your own tumblr blog can be hugely rewarding, you’ll get tons of supportive and right-thinking comments on your posts, you will feel really good about yourself you will probably make a lot of good friends who use hundreds of different pronouns that you can follow on twitter and get an even more diverse online experience. Of course, thanks to Patriarchy, you’ll get the occasional troll who tries to argue some stupid “equalist”, (code word for anti-feminist) agenda, but just ignore them and you’ll find most of the time on there to be very self-affirming and fun.
Unfortunately Tumblr is not only a place for good blogs, there are some extremely sexist blogs featuring, for example skinny, blonde women in bikinis. Click away as fast as you can or write a good comment on why the authors are being sexist, heteronormative freaks, and remember that you are beautiful and you deserve the best whatever you do and who ever you are. Beauty standards are just a patriarchical imprint on society, don’t let them ruin your blogging experience.
Newsflash men, women are no longer your kitchen slaves, we can go wherever we want now.
Jump on a plane with a girlfriend and see where it takes you. Don’t research too much about where you want to go, just follow your heart and let it grow wings.
Did you accidentally stumble upon a documentary on India, and just felt like you had to go there. Then go there. Book a ticket the next day, nothing is stopping you and if you have a boyfriend, get him to treat you to it (If you don’t have a boyfriend to pay for you, and can’t get one in time for your vacation, there’s always websites that allow girls to travel the world, financed by rich men who really know how to treat a woman). Cancun for spring break? Why the hell not? Leave your boyfriend at home and have fun with the girls for a few weeks, do number 1 & 2 on the list and do it good.
You’ll literally have soooo much fun, waking up to a beautiful Mexican sunset on a beach next to some tall dark stranger, shopping for cute new bikinis and just laying on the beach waiting to have drinks given to you by little brown Mexican men. If you really want to show the world that you care about important stuff, you should volunteer. Go to some poor country in Africa and teach a few super skinny kids some English, it may sound really boring, but you’ll get a golden tan and but if you get a lot of good Instagram pics you’ll look like the biggest angel and everyone at home will love you even more! You deserve it. And hey, there might be some cute African men walking around with spears and stuff, at least that’s what I’ve seen on BBC.
Stop making excuses. Just go, be free, and don’t think too much about it for Pete’s sake! The world is literally yours. Literally.
Oh and and and lastly
Just be a wild and crazy girl in her twenties! Live. Laugh. Love.
Growing up I was in the Boy Scouts. Over the years I volunteered with various day camps during the summer. In college I finally realized that I could camp, while being paid. Working a summer camp is the best job ever and teaches you so much.
Working with kids is such an amazing experience. They are full of excitement and just want to have fun. It seems as if they never run out of energy at all and if you get the right age group they look at you as their hero. The things they say are some of the most random but funniest things ever. You are giving them an experience that is often forgotten about in todays age. Kids these days don’t get out as much as I even did 10 years ago. So when they come to camp they are experiencing something they don’t do that often. It’s important that you show them you can have a ton of fun outside and being active.
Often we forget what it is like to just have fun and not worry about ourselves and social media. Camps won’t let you play with your phones. So for most of the week you won’t be able to refresh your twitter every two seconds and worry about Facebook drama. It’s really great to just actually talk to people all the time in person. You actually feel much less stressed and relaxed and you see the little things around you that you normally don’t see.
The people you meet and work with at camp are some of the best friends you will ever have. I still stay in contact with a lot of them. You spend an entire summer bonding over the same activities and grow together. I have met people from all different states,colleges and countries. You really get to learn a lot from other people this way.
Working at a camp is something that may not seem like the highest paying job, but the experience is something you will never ever forget. It’s a job that is in high demand and did I mention some of the places you may work? Last summer I worked in Cape Cod and this summer I have a job offer in South Carolina. You can go someplace that people vacation at and get paid for it. Win-win for everyone involved.