Not long after I turned 18, I came home from class one day to find that my mom was home early from work.
I walked in the door to find that she had several bags packed in the kitchen. I asked her what was going on and I got this response:
“Honey, I got fired today. I knew there was a risk of this for a while now, but I didn’t want to worry you. I’m just going to stay at Sean’s house for a week to clear my head. I’ll be back in a week with a plan okay?”
Sean was her boyfriend that lived on the water somewhere near the Eastern Shore. He had cheated on her and broken her heart before, so I wasn’t a fan of him at all, but after watching several boyfriends leave or break her heart, and after watching her struggle constantly with online dating, who was I to stop her from being with him?
Growing up, my mom was constantly dating, and she was very open about it. My whole life had been taking care of her, because it was never in her head that she was supposed to live alone. Sure, she was incredibly strong, but she was also incredibly confused and depressed. She grew up wanting a husband and kids, and while she got the kids, she never got her perfect husband, and my sister and I had to constantly live with her disappointment. My mom went to stay with Sean, and never came back. I got a text message from her that she got married, and she made a life for herself. Since I was 18 I was technically an adult, so technically she did nothing wrong, but you don’t realize just how young you still are when you’re 18 years old.
I didn’t no how to cope with such an enormous empty feeling, so I replaced it with what I learned to do: have a lot of sex.
I went from sleeping with one person, my first love, to several people, in a span of months. It was awful. I had some really great guy friends, and when they showed interest in me, I automatically assumed I needed to sleep with them in order to receive love from them. I’d wake up in the morning feeling filthy, wrong, and quite frankly very unfamiliar with myself. Who was this person that suddenly slept with every man that moved? This wasn’t me! I put these guys before everything, including school and work, and it all came back to haunt me soon enough.
One I ruined my GPA, had no job, and lost nearly all of my guyfriends fro obtaining quite a reputation and getting heartbroken from nearly all of them, I hit rock bottom, and felt the emptiness all over again. None of this was solving any of my problems, but actually just severely avoiding them. I had to find out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
I’ve spent this past few years really finding myself, and who I want to be. Sex is faaaarrr in the back of my mind (unless I’m watching a scene of Lord of the Rings with Aragorn), and I’ve dedicated my time to a fresh start. I transferred to UMBC, turned to therapy and acupuncture, started playing the banjo, and have been working as a barista for nearly two years.
I didn’t tell you my story to get sympathy, or to show off who I am today. I just wanted to share the difficult lesson I learned. Sex does not promote your self-esteem, and it doesn’t solve problems. Also, it’s really, really, really okay to hit rock bottom sometimes. As Kurt Vonnegut said: “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center”