I’ve managed through my first month of college, everybody. Special shout out to my mother who forgot to call for four weeks straight; I’ve got a great support system back home and I sure do miss ’em. It’s the first time I’ve been away from my family for more than two weeks and it’s also the first time my period became irregular; I think my body is freaking out over the fact that I now have to do my own grocery shopping and make my own bed. Two practices that I managed to stay away from my entire time while at home. This is not, however, the first time I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that this year will be marked as the “dating myself” year. Just like the past 16 years of my life and potentially the next four. We can only hope that I’ll be blessed to be so alone.
This is my first month on my own and I haven’t died yet, which is a good sign. But I also haven’t cried yet, which is a little bit concerning. In this first month, I’ve been on a wild journey; I’ve met dogs of all kinds, people of all opinions, and my first needle on the street. I didn’t know that actually happened. I didn’t know people actually left them sitting out for pedestrians to pick up, but there it was, a syringe, in a crack on the sidewalk. Outside a veterinarian clinique, no less. Apparently, the heroin addiction in Chicago has finally come around to the animal community. I actually saw a squirrel just the other day shooting up in a tree and I immediately called the police.
I, on the other hand, have managed to stay away from drugs (counting only heroin) and have turned to more holy things like visiting the zoo, going to see shows, and watching a hottie in the building next to me make dinner in his underwear. Oh, and going to any scarce art-school party I can find.
A lot of people say that college is your time to go wild and experiment so I’ve taken up bumming cigarettes off of people and drinking as much Fireball as my stomach can fit. I’ve come to the conclusion in the short time I’ve been free, that if I’m going to ruin my body, it should be while I’m young, right? And thanks to how the human body works, I’ll be a whole new person in seven years when all my cells replicate and completely replenish me, right? It’s like when a snake sheds its skin; if that snake were a functioning alcoholic and chain-smoker when she’s drunk. So, in seven years I can say “New year, new me,” and actually mean it. This also means I can consume anything I want and in seven years it will be all flushed out. Recently, I’ve found coffee to be more appealing than previously thought and have replaced my breakfast with it to be more like the working middle-aged woman I’m destined to be. Nothing starts my morning off better than pure exhaustion and an empty stomach being slowly filled with acidic energy.
Aside from finding out I can do anything I want now and it isn’t called sad or addiction until I graduate, I’ve learned a lot in college; especially about being lonely! Having to adjust to this loneliness is such a wake-up call to what the rest of your life is going to be like. Sure I’ll have friends and a handful of boyfriends in the future, but from here on out its’ little miss Jafei and her slightly anxious, slightly depressed, and over analytical brain for the long-haul. I wouldn’t have it any other way. No one gets me better than I get myself and, if we’re being frank, no one knows my body better than I know my body. I really don’t need a man to please me; I only need that joke present my friend bought me before I left for college. The one I said I’d put in a drawer and never open because that’s gross…well, sorry Annika, I definitely threw away the box. I’ve got my future in my hands and now all I’m missing is having to pay bills and affording my own insurance. But I’ve got the bleak outlook of a cubicle working mom in the bag. I’m ready to start my life. I’m ready to get that office job that supplements my addiction to performance and I’m ready to laugh alongside my co-worker that is told he’s the funniest in the office, you know, the one with a balding spot and horribly sexist humor? My kind of guy.
I’m ready to meet the love of my young-adult life. I’m ready for him to pudge out around 28, and I’m ready to realize that I’m a narcissist who can’t handle taking care of a fat, crying man. I’m ready to sit in bars in my mid 30’s with a scotch and an unflattering work dress. I’m ready for my bright future. I’m ready for what I’ve set myself up for: Failure. I think it lets my parent’s down easy and lets them know they’ll probably have to work until they’re in their 70’s. It gives me a good reason to stay up until 2 am eating Tonight Dough with Jimmy Fallon’s face saying “I’ll still laugh at all your jokes, Jafei. I’ll still laugh.”
But, you know, maybe I won’t be as fortunate as that and I’ll actually end up with a close-knit group of friends who perform alongside me every night at various comedy venues. I might have to end up with a cute, little apartment out in Boystown with a husband who agrees that man-buns are, in fact, very hot. I might end up with a life like that and while I’m hoping my cards will be played out better and I’ll end up alone while going through menopause, I really cannot predict the future. I might have to settle for doing what I love every night and coming home to a fully cooked meal and if it comes to that I guess I’ll have to live with it. I mean, I’d rather be out on the streets asking people to buy me a bread bowl from Panera, but I’ll settle for homemade mushroom soup made by my hipster husband if I have to. If I have to.
But, I really don’t know what my future holds. I can only hope for the best; I can only hope that I may, one day, trip on the sidewalk and maybe get pierced with a used needle just to see how it feels. Just to see what everyone’s talking about. Just to see what all the hype is about. But life is unexpecting and while I think I know where my future is going, there’s no way to predict it this early in the process. The only thing I can know for sure is that my mother is not going to call. She’s just not going to call. I don’t know why, but it’s probably because of the two kids before me that graduated from college and have started families/lives. She’s burnt out. It’s okay, though, Mom, because I have myself to talk to. And that’s all I need. See you at thanksgiving, I guess.
Here we go month #2.