Friday, May 29, 2015

The Soundtrack of My Life, The Third P

So, we're still in Freshman year, and I promised to tell you how things went in achieving my (ridiculous) goal of The Two Ps... among other things. If you'll recall my only idea was to do the opposite of what I'd done before, which is pretty scary stuffs when you stop and think about it.

After some observation, it seemed that The Two Ps were engaging in Partying, which brings me to the Third P.

Let me clarify something before I move forward. Had you asked me during college if I thought I was "off the reservation," I would've said "NO." I really liked college and didn't want to graduate. So, perspective and perception (two more Ps) are hard at work here.

Partying, aka drinking alcoholic beverages, wasn't all bad. It just wasn't all good. It bolstered my confidence to actually (gasp) talk to boys. It turns out that wasn't so terrible. Of course, once I passed beer number four it all got dicey. (Low tolerance was definitely a bad part of this equation.) Drinking made me feel more confident (pretty and popular) and in the feeling, I guess there was a measure of truth. However, it was a band-aid on a heart wound. Remember, I warned you back when we started this thing that I would later throw anyone and anything into those holes in my heart in an attempt to fill them up. We can officially call this Attempt #1.

The other reason that partying was hard on me (aside from the aforementioned low tolerance) is that it really went against the way I was raised. On the one hand, it filled up my holes and gave me Value. On the other hand, it felt like I was cheating on God. Which, I guess I was if you hold to the idea that God should be first in your life (and I did). Making the decision that drinking filled a need that God did not altered my relationship with God for many years. Lucky for me, God remains the same even while we wander around in a daze.

"No matter where you go, there you are." ~Buckaroo Bonzai

Seems like a silly saying, doesn't it? Well, that was very much like my college experience. I wanted to be someone else, but even a fairly good actor can only maintain "someone else" for so long. For me, this manifested in a variety of ways. I had two distinct sets of friends in college. Party Friends and Not Party Friends. In this way I got to be both sides of myself. With my closest Party Friends I was both (mostly because they were very much like me in their own duality).

I also obsessed over a boy I met at a party because we sat and talked for hours and had this amazing conversation. My friends didn't understand this attraction at all because he really wasn't even good looking. Ah well. Turns out, he was also really not interested in  little ole me. That made for an easy crush. This was the sort of "relationship" I could manage. No effort and all longing. Ha! Then I dated (briefly) another guy who was of the Non-Party Variety. Very good looking and super nice. At the time I thought he was boring. Maybe he was. Maybe he wasn't. Turns out he was "work." As in relationships require work. I was still a solid year away from being able to manage anything "real."

I also rushed a sorority my freshman year who rejected me. At the time, that was really painful. However, the more I watched those girls on campus, I realized they were the Mean Girls of my Junior High School. So, of course, I wanted them to like me. Of course, they didn't. By the end of the year I was grateful that God doesn't answer all prayer. I didn't belong in that group.

All in all... Freshman Year was a Mad Season. I did more changing in that one year than I had in all of the years that came before.

I particularly like the line:

And I've been changing
I think it's funny how no one knows

Can you think of a time when you decided that you wanted to "change everything" or "be someone else?" Have you ever filled your own holes with unhealthy things? 
 If you're enjoying these posts, feel free to share your own Soundtrack. This isn't a hop. No requirements at all, but a suggestion to do it one song at a time. (If you participated in the hop several years ago, you can still do this. Just post them one song at a time, with the freedom to add more songs if you'd like.) I'll link to all participants at the bottom of each of these posts:


Cherdo on the Flipside


  1. I sometimes think the hardest thing is also the most important thing. We need to forgive ourselves, so we can love ourselves.

    1. I've decided after years of therapy that forgiving ourselves is the hardest of all. It's much easier to forgive others... particularly when you understand they were just being themselves (to your detriment, but they never lied about who they were...) But, yes, we can't love ourselves until we forgive ourselves. It's a huge deal.

  2. Your freshman year sounds more exciting than mine though equally confusing. But if life's not somewhat confusing can we really say that we are living?

    Like you, I did my share of partying and the positive side of that was that it made me more bold in social settings and I increased my circle of friends--in some ways that was sometimes bad, but mostly it was a good thing. My partying was on the homefront rather than in the campus setting. I never did get plugged in there.

    My life then was all about changing me. I was always tried to change and become bigger in the way I connected with the world. I didn't want to be the high school me anymore and in many ways I was successful at that. There were some times--mostly after that freshman year--when I started trying to fill the holes in my life with unhealthy things, but I always managed to extract myself before things got too self-destructive. For the most part a sense of moderation has kept me grounded--or at least tethered so I didn't float away filled with lighter than air stupidity.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. I feel conflicted even now about the Partying. It did make me bolder (as it did you) and I think it became easier to talk to people even outside of the "party" setting. I just tend to push the limits on everything. Or I did. Now I'm more about moderation and making healthy choices, but not so much back then...

  3. Hi again, dear Robin! I'm all caught up now. I returned to your previous post which, I am sorry to say, I missed, and now I just finished reading this current installment.

    At the Shady Dell and later on at college parties, including frat bashes, I used alcohol as a social lubricant. W/o firewater in my system I was painfully shy, especially around women. The problem with me was that I never knew when to say when. As I started to drink at a party, there was a brief window of time during which I was likable and effective - loose enough to be witty and carry on a good conversation with members of the opposite sex. However the window always slammed shut as I proceeded to consume mass quantities and render myself null and void. Now that I've read your post I wonder what would have happened if you and I had met and talked at one of those parties. Would you have considered me boring, too much of a "College Joe" type, or too wild for your taste? You see, I was also one of those people who dabbled in duality. Half the people in my life knew me as a serious minded, straight laced rule follower. The other half told me that I was one of the funniest, wackiest characters they ever met. As I told you before, I was a chameleon, always finding a way to blend in with this group or that group in hopes of gaining acceptance and netting a few friends. I didn't know who or what the "real me" was.

    Thank you for another daily dose of introspection, dear friend Robin. Please feel better soon. I care.

    1. The ironic thing is that my freshman year I think I was still just too darn immature to sustain a relationship with anyone. I didn't like Me yet, which makes it impossible to accept that someone else might like you. So, that more than anything was likely the reason it didn't work out with the one fella I actually dated.

      My other issue (which we haven't tackled yet, but we're rolling up on it quickly) is that I had NO good role models for a healthy relationship. It's really tough to create something you've never seen. So, I can't answer that question Mr. Shady... I was so "chameleoned" that I kinda lost myself. Eventually I got found. Whew.

  4. I wasn't much of a drinker in college. Unless you count coffee. That, I drank in vast quantities. We even hung out at a coffee house near D.C., where poets would recite their work, and we coffee-guzzlers would tap on our cups with spoons, in lieu of clapping. How cliche, huh?

    1. So, you were full of coffee in college? Well, there are worse things.

      You made me laugh with the image of tapping on your cup instead of clapping.

  5. The whole "filling the void" phase comes in everyone's life - I'm convinced of it. Like your question implies, different people use different things. Those who become workaholics and hyper-focus on career are more of the same kind of critter!

    Me? Just your run of the mill emotional eater, ha ha.

    1. First, I don't think there's anything "run of the mill" about you.

      You've made a valid point, though, about filling the void. Seems like we all go through it to varying degrees.

  6. BEST SONG!! I am huge huge fan of Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty.

    I drank to be cool and then I got alcohol poisoning my freshman year and was sick for a week. Then I became the girl who tried too hard and couldn't handle her liguor. Good times!

    1. I was lucky I didn't get alcohol poisoning.

      True story (not freshman year and likely not to be included in this soundtrack series, because I have no idea what song would even relate...): I was at a party and very drunk. I remember sitting in the living room with my friends and the place was PACKED. I knew I was going to throw up (I did). I must've said something and one of my friends who held her liquor better than I found a trash can in the nick of time. There is nothing that empties out a living room like someone barfing. I know. I saw it. If I'd been sober, I'd have been humiliated. As it was, not so much.... ;)

  7. Your struggles were a lot like mine, only they were interesting. I too rationalized the drinking I knew better than, and was convinced that only an opposite sex partner could fill the hole in me. Years later I figured out that throwing someone in a hole doesn't fill the hole, it just makes the someone disappear.

    1. Or makes you disappear. Not sure which one is worse. They're both pretty bad...

      Oh, and I'm not sure that my struggles were any more interesting than yours. I just tell the story with Flair. Ha!

  8. I can always fill a void with chocolate, if nothing else will fit. :-)

    1. Too much of that can cause it's own grief. The thing about holes is they're bottomless.

  9. Ditto Debi.

    The whole party scene scared the heck out of me. I never went near it, or partyers.

    Have a nice weekend, Robin. I promise not to eat bugs.

    1. I wondered if Debi was channeling you with the chocolate comment.

      Good to know about the bugs...

  10. Hi Robin. Someone or maybe you, commented on role models. Role models can aid us in determining where we 'want' to go. Helping us mature, and encouraging us to build on stable ground. It's not something necessarily taught in school. It may not be presented as such, within a religious setting. At a time when I was growing up, it was presumed that parents were the perfect role models. We know that's not always the case. [I was rich with good role models inside and outside of my family.]

    IMO, learning to love myself aided in being able to forgive myself. I think the love comes first. I looked at the word and figured out - if God can forgive me - who am I not to? I'm so small. I'm frail, and able to be influenced. Through growth in maturity, I began noticing the big scope of life. Some things I still have to ask - help me to forgive myself, or my part in this event/ situation, and let this go.

    The song choice seems sad to me. I don't want to think that stupid can define us, but it can. Being slow to understand a situation, or someone's influence on us, can make us feel stupid. And I agree, there are times we change but no one notices... not for a while it seems. Maybe we have to have that full awareness first, and openly treasure our freedom from the previous moment of stupidity. Our walk changes; our talk changes. We want that peaceful path. That peace that surpasses all understanding. What a post!!

    Most sincerely, Dixie

    1. In some ways I had excellent role models. In other ways... just terrible. I feel like I've spend many a year learning to weed out what to keep and what to toss. Yes, as we learn and grow, our walk and talk changes.

  11. Oh I found my mojo in University and yes-alcohol was part of it and I have no problem in saying I enjoyed every last drunken spiel:) Now did I become more bold-yup! I was always shy but not when I was liquored up. I don't drink like that any more or else I would be in AA but it was fun and I found my fitting...except with boys. I was still a bit of a dunce when it came to them

    1. I enjoyed many a drunken spiel! The best ones didn't involve vomiting. Just sayin'. And I know just what you mean about being glad you don't still drink that way... if I did I'd be right there with ya in AA.


    >>... alcoholic beverages, wasn't all bad. It just wasn't all good. It bolstered my confidence to actually (gasp) talk to boys.

    BOYS?! They're BEASTS! Why would you wanna talk to them?

    >>... Have you ever filled your own holes with unhealthy things?

    No. I usually fill them with healthy things like fresh-squeezed orange juice and salads (heavy on the veggies; light on the dressing).

    Then I start feeling guilty about that and drink a quart of vodka to counteract the damage I've done to my liver and kidneys.

    OK, seriously, the drinking thing... I joke about it incessantly, but if I truly drank as much as I joke, I would have died a long time ago. But, back in my early 20s (and beyond) - my 'League Of Soul Crusaders' years - the amount I drank would probably scare the bejabbers outta ya.

    One thing my buddies and I could do was... DRINK! And collect people who wanted to be with us. We weren't just "the life of the party", we pretty much owned the room. Guys wanted to be us; girls wanted to be WITH us, and then... we'd wake up with 95% hangovers and... make an immediate beer run.

    Seriously, there's a lot I could say about my hardcore drinking years - both bad AND good - but I think I can point to three things that most stand out to me:

    1) I was very shy before those years occurred. "Intense" but shy. I pretty much found myself during those years and really learned how to "stand alone".

    2) My friends and I had such a good time and so many remarkable experiences that I even wrote a book about it. Some seriously funny stuffs in there.

    3) This might seem slightly egotistical but it's not. It's just the straight poop: Despite the shyness, I had always been the leader of the group. People just naturally seemed to look to me for the next step, I guess due to imagination and boldness. However, during my 'League Of Soul Crusaders' drinking years, there was this guy nicknamed Torch. Torch was an incredible, unforgettable guy. Easily the most charismatic and quick-witted person I've ever met in my entire life.

    Although the "League" was just a bunch of good drinking buddies, so there was no such thing as an official "leader", Torch was unquestionably the unofficial leader. And I really, REALLY enjoyed being able to just sit back and let someone else be that "go-to" guy. Only once in all those years was there a simple disagreement about what to do next. Torch went his way and I went mine. Half of the guys followed him, and half followed me. Ha! I can live wid dat!

    Truthfully, although there's a lot of bad that can come of drinking, the very height of my drinking years was probably the most fun and memorable times I've ever had.

    Reading Birgit's comment, I'm bummed that she and I couldn't have known each other then. There were a few girls who had the courage to hang out with "The League" and Birgit sounds like she would have been amongst them. (We were all "good" guys. Crude, but good. And a drunken gal couldn't have been safer anywhere than with "The League". I'll never forget the night some guy hit his girlfriend in OUR house. When we learned of it, Brother Nappy and I both went looking for him. It was like turning the dogs loose. Nappy went berserk and the guy literally crawled out of our house through the back kitchen door. Good times!)

    I liked the guitar sound of that Matchbox 20 song. The lead singer's voice, not so much, but the guitarist had a raunchy vibe goin' there.

    ~ Stephen

    1. I think your League sounds like a great group of guys. I don't think I could've kept up with you. Not to make my friends sound bad, but they could drink. Seriously drink. It was really tough on someone like me with such a low tolerance. For me to have survived the League I'd have had to drink two waters for every actual drink. You boys would've gotten tired of taking turns holding my hair while I puked. Ha! Of course, the fact that I was ten years younger than you fellas wouldn't have sat right with you either. I'd have been what? 12? Good times.

      Jocularity! Jocularity!


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