I want to share a little story from college with you.
It was my first night on campus. I went to this big group thing and ran into a guy that I hadn't really known from high school but he looked vaguely familiar so, it was easy to say the sort of, "Oh... hey... Do I know you from somewhere?" type of thing.
He was my older brother's age and remembered him and me, but he remembered little girl me who had been rather forgetful. College me, on the other hand, was apparently more memorable.
He invited me to a party.
It was my first night on campus. This is what you're supposed to do right? So, I went back to my room, changed into something cute and met this guy near my dorm before walking across campus to the party's location. It was at a house and it was standing room only.
I hadn't really "partied" in high school. I didn't really drink. Everything about this scene felt somewhat dangerous but also (or maybe because of that) totally intriguing.
"This is it," I thought. "This is a college party." I thought it would take a little bit longer to get to one of these but nope. Within hours of living on campus, here I was, shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of guys and girls, with music blaring so loud everyone had to shout or lean in titillatingly close to get any sort of message across.
I stood there making small talk with the people around me a bit. I was completely out of my element. I'm not shy but I typically observe things more so than immediately interject myself or my comments into the mix. I like to really get to know people. I don't usually just B.S. for B.S.'s sake. So, I stood there not saying too much as I took in all the things this college party scene had to teach my little newby self.
We made our way through the living room passing a gigantic beercan pyramid stacked nearly ceiling high. I had an overwhelming urge to karate kick the crap out of it but decided that was probably an impulse I'd better not indulge. Outside, three bamboo walls enclosed the patio where guys and girls were getting their flirt on hard core. Lights were strung form pole to pole casting glints of light off of every beer bottle, beverage and can that each person in attendance seemed to be holding.
"Can I get you a beer?" the guy who brought me asked, trying not to reveal the earnestness in his voice to get my alcohol consumption going.
I felt a twinge in my stomach and said, "You know what, I'm good. I really don't like it."
Shortly thereafter, on the other side of the patio, a guy with tray in hand jumped up on a bench and shouted, "Jello shots!!! Green and red! For girls only!!! For GIRLS only!!!"
There was a lot of wooing going on and then my escort said, "Yeah bro! Over here!"
Suddenly, it was as if everything was moving in slow motion. I saw the guy who'd brought me with this delighted look on his face as he made his way toward the jello shots to commandeer a few servings for me. I looked around at all the girls getting increasingly tipsy, felt like I could sense the guys growing giddy and quickly ran through the potential ways the next few hours, and decisions, could play out for me.
I have to say, I was disgusted. I was pretty confident that all this guy wanted was for me to get drunk so I would become inebriated enough to think it would be alright to makeout with his not-that-cute, uninteresting, not-a-good-conversationalist self. And that pissed me off.
I made a decision right then and there and told myself, "This will not be my story."
By that I mean, I knew right then and there I didn't want those kinds of stories to tell. More than that, I didn't want those kinds of potential regrets to have to sift through or keep all to myself in the years to come.
I peaced out and walked home.
I'm not saying I've been a perfect angel. I'm not condemning all parties or all party goers. I just wanted to share this story because I felt it was important and it certainly was a defining moment for me.
Whatever stage you're at in life, whatever point you're along in your journey, your story is still being written. It's you who adds the ink to the pages and crafts the stories and story lines and characters that make it whatever it is and/or is going to be. I just wanted to share this because, I believe it's each of our own responsibilities to craft and tell the beautiful story each of us is uniquely here to tell.
I personally couldn't have handled dealing with some of those things. I knew that about myself from the get go and am happy and thankful for that. But what about you? Are there some things you wish you could edit? I saved myself some stuff but, I promise you, there's enough other material that I already had to work through.
Whether you're in college, in high school, or out in life with a family, career and beyond, what is the story you're crafting? Are you even conscious of who you're letting in or cutting out?
This decision served me well. There were others that didn't but I'm comforted by the fact that though life is short its also long, so I take pleasure in knowing that my story's not finished yet and I have a been ol' role to play in how the next few lines and pages and chapters come out.
I think this short story is about reminding us to take back a little power when it comes to our life's script. You don't have to be passive or think that things just come and go and it's all random and meaningless.
It's all meaningful, useful... gris for the mill as they say in the south. So, if you don't love how your story is going right now, pick back up your pen and get to work making it something you'd want to read about.
(And save yourself some of the pages you'd want to rip out and burn later.)