Part II: Seriously?

“In other news I paid my taxes and rent this morning. When did I become an adult, seriously?”

This is how I end a journal entry on April 18th, 2016. I was finishing up my second year at the University of Arkansas and though I end that entry with a lighthearted bewilderment, I really had no idea what I was doing or where I was going and that terrified me.  

I know myself well enough to read through all the words in my journal and see that I was struggling. Really struggling. These entries are full of emotions that are just begging to be felt and to be faced but are masked with positivity and brushed under a rug of denial. Even though I know that I am the only person to be reading my journal, I am holding things back and repressing them even in my writing. Who am I trying to please and convince here in my private thoughts? I wish that I could go back and tell myself that things don’t have to be experienced alone. Burdens don’t have to be this heavy. I wish I could go back and tell myself that life doesn’t have to be perfect and wonderful all of the time and when it isn’t, it’s not because I’ve done something wrong. Or maybe I did do something wrong.. but I am a human and I don’t have to run away from it.

My sophomore year, on top of seventeen credit hours of difficult, competitive prerequisites for nursing school, I was still in both marching band and concert band which took up about 20 hours a week. I began training as a supervisor at work and took on more responsibility, clocking about 25-30 hours at the HPER. This is where I began the habit of picking up closing shifts and opening shifts back to back. I was working 10 hours a week at Cross Church in the nursery and attending a bible study every week. But still that voice said you are not doing enough.

I was training for my second half marathon. I was trying to lose weight. I didn’t have a healthy relationship with running yet and I’d spend miles and miles on a treadmill calculating the calories I needed to burn for the day. I ordered diet pills off of the internet that claimed to raise your body temperature and metabolism and I’d take them multiple times a day on an empty stomach. I would stay up studying and still wake up early to run even though I was already on empty. You are not skinny enough. You are not working hard enough. You are not enough.

I’m a superhuman. I don’t need sleep or food or free time. I can do all of these things and function at 100%, with a smile on my face. I end an entry with, “It has just been a great week and I’m so happy with my life right now!” I scribbled this sentence after recapping a week where I drugged myself to study, didn’t sleep, ran around trying to prove to every person that I am perfect. But here in my journal, who was I trying to convince with this revelation? Was I fooling myself at all? Was I trying to quiet that voice?

“In other news I paid my taxes and rent this morning. When did I become an adult, seriously?”

This is how I end a journal entry on April 18th, 2016. An entry where I recapped a week that began similar to those before it. In this entry I talked about my new coffee maker, paying a $15.00 parking ticket. I mentioned spending the weekend in Mountain Home. And then I recounted an eventful Thursday night out with friends.

It started by dinner at Hammontree’s and walking over to Burton’s to get ice cream with Kim and Rachel. Afterwards, I worked a closing shift at the Service Center and made plans to join some friends at a house party. I got there late, around 12:30 a.m. and tried to catch up a little too quickly. I was trying to escape and hiding from the stress of the week, the pressures I was carrying. I drank fast and didn’t wait for it to catch up to me.

Things get foggy quickly. I write in my journal how a pledge driver drove us to the Maple Hill dorms where 3 of my friend’s lived. I write, “After I got them in bed, I realized I had no ride home. So I was so drunk, I just sat on the ground outside the Quads.”

I made it up into their dorm, tucked them into bed and got them water, left their room, walked down the stairs and outside before I realized I had no ride home. I am not really sure what my thought process was here. I mean yes, I was extremely drunk at this point but why didn’t I just stay in their room and sleep it off? The building locks from the outside so I couldn’t go back in, but I could have called one of them to come downstairs? But I didn’t do either of these things. So I guess here is where I really start being able to pile the blame on myself. I was being drunk and stupid and not making good decisions.

My dorm was across campus, but I had so much alcohol in my system I couldn’t even walk. At this point I cannot remember enough following this to recount with much detail, but I remember trying to walk and having to sit down a lot

Finally I make it to the dorms next door and I remember my ex-boyfriend, Thomas, lived there. So I text him, but no reply because this was probably at 2:00am. So I sit down outside the Quads on the cold pavement sidewalk. I wish I could remember what I was thinking at this moment, what was running through my head.

So next I text my friend, Brad (name changed for privacy’s sake). I’m not really sure where my friendship with Brad even came from, to be honest. I met him when I was working a door shift at the HPER the spring of my freshman year. I was sitting at the first floor entrance, swiping cards and studying. He comes out of UREC Outdoors, taking a break from climbing the bouldering wall to talk to someone or maybe grab a drink. He was in his third semester of nursing school and struck up a conversation, seeing my enormous Chemistry textbook. He seemed like a really nice guy and I gave him my phone number because he said he would love to be able to help me study or apply to nursing school.

We immediately hit it off and texted pretty regularly. We only hung out a few times since we were both so busy. I love coffee but I’d never been to Onyx, so we made a trip there together and talked for hours. Once he picked me up and we went to Wilson park and just sat on some swings and talked into late hours. I never felt like I had any reason not to trust him. I never felt that I was in danger or that he was a predator in any way. He didn’t even try to kiss me or even hold my hand. He never pushed any boundaries. He seemed like a good friend and I liked him a lot.

We continued to text on and off. I was freshly out of a two year relationship and told him I wasn’t really interested in another relationship so soon. There were weeks we didn’t talk at all, but then one of us initiated the conversation again.

The night I texted him so drunk, we hadn’t really talked in a while. I’m not sure why I thought to text him. There were other friends I could have called, even SafeRide on campus could have driven me home. But I didn’t do that. I texted him. My decision. Why did I text him? It’s your fault.

I wrote down our conversation in my journal.

Me: Idk how

Me: can’t walk

Me: It’s hard

Me: Can you pick me up

Me: I just drunk

Brad: Yes. Give me 10 minutes

The journal entry continues.

“So he picked me up. Then he took me back to his apartment where we hooked up. Which is pretty shitty considering how drunk I was and how sober he was. He texted me 2 days later and said he felt like shit. So that’s something I guess.

But I got a Garmin! It’s so awesome and I got it today so I haven’t gotten to play around with it much. But now I just wanna go out and run but I can’t because my knee is still sore from my half marathon. I’m really wanting to get started for this full marathon but I don’t want to get hurt more. So we will see.

In other news I paid my taxes and rent this morning. When did I become an adult, seriously?”

Though I lived on campus, maybe 2 minutes away from where Brad picked me up, he drove me to his apartment. I genuinely wish I could remember the conversation that got us there. Maybe I told him I wanted to go home with him? Maybe I threw myself on him? I mean I was drunk enough and that sounds like something I would do. I love full and well when completely sober, so after a drink or two every single human is my best friend. That’s probably what happened but I wish I could just remember it.

But even if I had.. He was sober. I couldn’t walk and couldn’t think and he was sober. He was sober. He was sober. He was sober. He could think clearly. He could make rational decisions. He could plan. He could function. He was sober.

I do remember how messy his one-bedroom apartment was, clutter and clothes everywhere. I remember asking him for a T Shirt to sleep in and changing in his also cluttered bathroom. I remember the kissing. I remember him being on top of me while I was going in and out of sleep, in and out of consciousness. We were in the middle of having sex, him on top of me, when I finally just black out completely. I kind of wish I didn’t remember that part.

The next morning he dropped me off at my dorm. I was so embarrassed the entire time. I remember being so ridiculously embarrassed. Why am I so stupid? Why did I drink so much? Why did I text guys? Why do I do these things? Why am I like this? Shame and guilt and embarrassment and failure bubbled up and were heavy. I hopped out of his truck and said, “Thanks for picking my drunk ass up last night!” Did I seriously just say that? I am an idiot.

And then in that journal entry I just write about it like it is the most casual thing. I quickly avoid and distract with my new running watch and move on to the next topic, a happier more exciting topic. My friend raped me, I don’t know if he stopped or did anything after I passed out, but in other news I paid my taxes and rent this morning? … What?

Click here for Part III: Enough.

6 thoughts on “Part II: Seriously?

  1. Liv, you have said so much here, that so many girls will hear and understand. Something I heard and understood was that your true strengths are in connection and relationship, something that is not valued from the ages of 5 to 17 by society in the western world. Education, knowledge, skill, competition, all the things that pass away are valued so highly in those years and yet what we long for and crave, particularly as it is our motivating force, is relationship and connection. So we feel like we’re failing but we don’t recognise what the failure is.
    We are failing to be ourselves, to relate, to connect, it hurts so much but because we don’t know that, we try to get good at all these other things, because we ant to please our family, because that will improve our connection with them, won’t it?
    It sounds like you were very good at masking your pain with achievement. But I know, and obviously you do too or you would not have written this, that nothing but relationship and connection can fill the void. So we get to our independent years, suddenly and we try filling the void with sex, because that’s the deepest kind of relating right? But when it is not and when it doesn’t fill the void with anything apart from pain and regret we shrug it off, like we shrugged off our failed “achievements” and we move on….
    Keep writing Liv, this is the journey of so many of us. We did it alone, but in reality we did it side by side and we need to lean on each other so that we can forgive ourselves and others and find the threads of connection through it. We also need to learn from it for the sake of our daughters and sons.
    Lots of love and God bless you, L

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So sorry that a safe person proved to be so unsafe, truly. Your words are so profound! Emotional honesty with others is so hard, but I think it is even harder being emotionally honest with ourselves? We spend so much time thinking about the shallow emotions we feel like annoyance, sadishness, jealousy, etc. I think few people tap deep into our true and core emotions. Thank you for sharing your process in this, I think that so many people will be able to see themselves in this. And can push towards being emotionally honest with themselves and others.

    Liked by 1 person

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