Trick or Treat.
Sadly, when I went away to college I didn’t’ go to get an education…I went to get away from home. My naughty-by-nature, self-conscious, small town, cookie cutter identity had not only grown weary of rural American living – my rebellious attitude had also waxed tired of the…
…of my parents. The love, protection and provisions they gave me had somehow become distorted. I perceived them as a hindrance – an out-and-out attempt to stifle my life.
I had allowed myself to be hoodwinked.
I was ready for bigger and better things – the hills of my hometown could hold me no longer. Propelled by arrogance and ignorance, I was ready for
The warmth of the sun standing tall in the crystal clear Carolina blue sky, still held its own with crisp pre-fall air of early September – a good day to move. It was a bitter-sweet, nervous but exciting anticipation I felt as me and my parents lugged boxes, bags, remnant carpet, mini-fridge, clothes and other essentials into my new 12x12 domain (sounds a little like jail – minus the carpet and mini-fridge J). After Mom’s ritual check and recheck of things, making sure her baby’s gear was precisely arranged, put up and in order, it was time to say our goodbyes (at least for a week). As I waved goodbye with a hint of tears in my eyes, I remember thinking to myself,
“Now what do I do?”
The day I had longed and hoped for was now here…but at that moment for some strange reason, I could not remember why I wanted it so bad.
The campus was big, but not large. Like most good sized universities there were hundreds of students in my general education classes. I soon began to feel like “a number” – just one of many. There were thousands of people from all over the country with a plethora of various genres represented. To me they all seemed much more intriguing, had done many more interesting things and came from social worlds that seemed much more attractive than anything I’d experienced thus far.
Talk about reality check!
Any inkling of self-awareness or worth that I brought from home was almost instantaneously dispelled. Over the first few weeks, I would begin to discover holes in my shield. Who I thought I was did not seem to fit in this world. I felt stripped, naked and vulnerable – I didn’t know who I was anymore, or why I was even there. My plan had back-fired. Loneliness settled in. I didn’t know what to do…
…or did I?...
…I had to adjust…
…adjust to fit in…
…DO NOT be made fun of!
I started hanging out with a group of more socially savvied guys on my hall – in other words – PARTIERS. Like most “suitcase colleges”, Thursday night was the big party night. And for the most part, at least for the first few weeks, partying with the socially skilled was contained to that night. Although, it wasn’t long before Thursday extended to Friday…and Friday to Saturday. Drinking quickly became our common denominator; “the drink” was involved no matter what we did.
The popular salutation of Halloween, Trick or Treat, took on a new meaning for me that fall. On Halloween night, I “upped the ante” on my party world –
I bought my first bag of pot.
Sure, I’d seen it in high school, even experimented with it one or two times (wink, wink), but I certainly was no Jeff Spicoli of Fast Times at Ridgemont High…(yet).
Oh what TREAT I thought I’d found!
A substance that allowed me to change the way I felt – at the flick of a Bic. With one little “poof-poof” I could make myself feel good and confident, chasing away any feelings of inferiority and insecurity. I could relax and come out of my shell. I soon discovered three parts of a principle that would shape my existence for many years to come.
1) When I smoked dope, I was funny.
2) Other people thought I was funny too - they like me – accepted me – wanted to be around me.
3) I liked both 1 & 2…a lot!
Soon after this discovery, like the drinking, the pot smoking picked up too. It started off as something I did with the guys on party night, but it wasn’t long before that wasn’t enough. I had to be ready to perform from the get-go. I had to be on point and funny before they picked me up. Consequently, I started smoking dope by myself…everyday…all day.
It didn’t take long before I crossed the line –
the psychological, imaginary line of dependency on a substance to control the way I felt…
and I didn’t even know it.
- The TREAT had become a TRICK.-
At that time all I knew was that I liked this newly discovered power. The little boy had grown up and found the soothing and comforting power of pleasure – right at his finger tips (no pun intended). A synthetic and pseudo form of pleasure, but in my mind, pleasure, nonetheless. A romance was born – a romance augmented by an intense sneaky drive for excitement.
Unbeknownst to me, hedonism –
the love of excitement and pleasure
- was slowly becoming my god. A god that would patiently and stealthily try to destroy me!
…from the inside…ray-ray