Ames, Leah, C-Tina, & me a.k.a. the Wolf Pack at Odessa two and a half years ago. I had been back from LA for five months. At the time, we had less hectic schedules and were able to reunite on most weekends. These ladies made college amazing. As is evident by our expressions, we’ve never put up with bitchassness. Though we don’t get to see each other as often, we continue to support each other’s respective paths in adulthood.
Last week, Ames was cleaning her closet at Odessa. (Odessa is the house we lived in during college. She’s lived there during med school as well.) While tidying up, she stumbled upon relics from college — notes we wrote to each other, hilarious photos, and gaudy clothes we retired because we had to be respectable young adults after graduation. (We’ve been reminiscing about and laughing at our misadventures ever since.)
The blast from the past prompted me to peruse old entries in my college livejournal. That person is foreign to me now. But I can see her motivations more clearly than I did at the time. During college (and even in LA, to some extent), I jumped headfirst into experiences so that I would have stories to tell. My worst nightmare was to wake up a shriveled old woman who had no exciting memories from her youth to stave off thoughts of her impending demise. (Morbid, I know.)
Most of the lessons I’ve learned between then and now are enumerated in this poem, but each new year calls for reflection. The new year isn’t a blank slate — you can’t erase the previous year’s events in hopes of achieving what you aimed yet failed to do.
Here’s some wisdom I gleaned (so you didn’t have to) from last year (and the previous two) a.k.a. real talk from a former party girl:
- Going out and getting hammered can be fun. But if you don’t enjoy it, don’t feel pressure to do so just because you’re young and should be partying every chance you get. If you would rather curl up with a glass of wine and marathon TV shows on Netflix during the weekend, you should. You will be more comfortable and will spend less money that way.
- You are in the relationship you think you deserve. If you want to be in a monogamous relationship, don’t settle for being someone’s booty call. If you want to be single but are passive aggressively trying to get your significant other to break up with you, put on your adult pants and end it. Figure out what you want and never convince yourself that you’re happy with something else simply because it’s convenient.
- Surround yourself with people who support you and let go of those who don’t. You don’t have time for bitchassness. You don’t have time for toxic relationships (of any kind). If they guilt you for minimizing (or eliminating) their role your life, that should reaffirm (not revoke) your decision.
- Don’t dread being by yourself. (This is different from being alone, which implies that you have no one to talk to at any time.) Don’t be self-conscious about grocery shopping or even going to the movies by yourself. “You” time consists of peaceful moments where you don’t have to entertain anyone or worry about saying/doing the wrong thing.
- Find at least one positive thing that happens each day. It’s easy to get bogged down in the things that frustrate us. But I’ve found that I’m in a better mindset when I do this. You will find yourself expressing more gratitude and being more patient, if you do this.
But what do I know?
“Sammi is pumpkin?”
Brie squinted curiously at my toothless grimace and reached for the thread holding my lip together.
“No, Brie — I’m not a jack-o-lantern.” I shook my head.
“Owwie. No touch.”
“Correct. Don’t touch the thread. It hurts.”
“Sorry, Sammi.” Brie hugged me carefully, giggling when the stitches thread tickled her cheek.
“It’s okay, Brie. It’s not your fault.”
“Sammi is no pumpkin.”
Raf popped into the kitchen. “Time to go to the dentist, sis.”
“Thanks for picking me up, bro.”
“Of course. There was no way you could drive on pain meds.”
Four years ago, Halloween was on Saturday. Most people were going to Jacksonville for the UGA vs. UF game, so we celebrated the prior Wednesday. After stopping by my friend Kelli’s party, Ames and I headed downtown with two of our Young Dems friends.
Ames was a flapper. Pre-Halloween festivities were the perfect time to wear my cowboy boots with four inch heels, so I was a cowgirl. (The boots were impractical for anything but a costume.) Our friends were a glittery faced Edward Cullen from Twilight and a mobster.
As the night progressed, the boots pinched my feet. All of us (except Ames, who was driving) did rounds of shots at each bar, which numbed the pain. After last call, Edward offered to give me a piggyback ride. As I jumped onto his back, he lost his balance and I tumbled face first onto the pavement.
“MY TEETH!” I stared at the fragments of my teeth and blood splattered on the sidewalk. Two teeth were pushed an inch back, digging into my tongue. My lip was split, bleeding onto my dress.
Ames snapped into her lifeguard handing an emergency mode. “Try not to touch your face. Don’t let your tongue move your teeth back any further.”
Ames drove us to the hospital. I left my dentist a rambling voicemail about my busted teeth. Once we sat in the ER waiting room, our costumed crew got weird looks (even from a guy who was there because he got stabbed). Edward apologized profusely, but I couldn’t help laughing (weakly) at his face, sparkling underneath the fluorescent lights.
After I got stitched (and doped) up, I saw that Dr. M left me a voicemail. He cleared his schedule to work on my teeth and was available as early as I could get there.
“Everybody’s staring, sis.” Raf jerked his head toward the onlookers in Dr. M’s waiting room.
“They probably think I got run over by a bus.” I continued watching the flat screen TV across from us. Dr. M always displayed a slideshow (portfolio, really) of his best work on that TV.
Dr. M winced when he greeted us. “Raffy, you can go home. Sam will call you when we’re done. This is gonna take awhile.” He pulled his goggles down and his gloves up. “Sam, do you have any pictures of your teeth before this happened?”
“Yes.” I fumbled through my purse and found my camera. I showed him a close-up that Ames and I took at the beginning of the night.
After taking a “before” photo, x-rays, and shooting anesthesia into the roof of my mouth, Dr. M gravely explained, “I’m gonna pull the two left teeth forward, do a root canal on and put a crown on the front right one, and then put a brace behind your front seven teeth.”
I squirmed anxiously.
Several hours later, my smile was fixed. One of the dental hygienists took an “after” photo. I wept with gratitude. Dr. M dabbed his brow with a handkerchief and patted my shoulder.
“Come back in three weeks so I can check to see that everything is healing properly.”
Months later, I sat in Dr. M’s waiting area before a regular cleaning. My teeth looked better than ever. The scratches on my face and lip healed. Two older ladies sat beside me, making small talk.
Tired of reading Shape magazine, I turned to the flat screen with Dr. M’s best work slideshow. The next pair of photos were my teeth before and after he worked on them.
The grey-haired lady gasped. “Dr. M is a miracle worker!”
The bespectacled lady clucked worriedly. “I wonder how that happened to that poor girl.”
The poor girl accepted a piggyback ride from a drunk Edward Cullen impersonator. She’s never trusting a glittery vampire again.
One of the best parties that Young Dems hosted was a mixer with the College Republicans. Members from both organizations dressed as each other. Ames and I went for the preppy Republican ladies look. (Not pictured: our awesome argyle sweaters.) Most of the College Republicans went for the tree-hugging hippie look.