About exactly a year ago, I thought my life was perfect.
I had just put an end to my first long-term relationship that should’ve been over the second it started. It was forced and something that I didn’t want but something that I kept holding onto for about two and a half years because I was scared of being alone. I felt like being in a committed relationship, no matter how bad it was, would be better than casually dating around. But when I eventually got the balls to shed that phase of my life for good, a whole new life emerged right in front of me. I immersed myself into my sorority and adopted a social life that was completely the opposite of what it had been before. During my first college years, I sheltered myself. I didn’t want to meet new people and I was so stuck in my ways and in my comfort zone that I never gave myself the real chance to branch out. Once I finally was single, it wasn’t just about boys. It was about doing what I wanted, having an open agenda, and finding myself. My first relationship had the same affect that alcohol had on me. It held me back, blinded me from my priorities and new opportunities, and most importantly, it was just unhealthy. Everybody saw it, I knew it, but I didn’t truly see until I opened my eyes. So in turn, my life drastically changed that following Fall semester. I was so happy, I never felt alone, I always had somewhere to go, someone to hang out with, and my priorities were in line. I had a nice car, a great serving job, all A’s, and I finally realized how fulfilling it was to let go of something that had run its course. All of the problems that I faced during that time period were just signs that I needed to move on because there were better things on the horizon. It all made sense.
I remember going to the beach after I aced all of my final exams with my little and two of my best friends that were in my Greek family. It was a beautiful day, it was the beginning of Winter Break, and best of all…I genuinely thought that I had found the right guy. That day at the beach, as my hand was hanging out the car window while we were driving down the shore, “Roses” by the Chainsmokers blasting and my hair flying in the wind, I thought to myself, “My life is perfect.”
Three days later, my life flipped upside down…and so did my car on the side of the highway. What prompted me to get in my car that evening, I have no idea. But an impulsive decision that I wasn’t even conscious enough to make ruined my “perfect” life. No more sorority, no more car, no more transportation to my job, no more transportation to school (I lived in Lake Mary at the time, 30-45 minutes away from campus), no more clean record, no more clean reputation, no more feeling like I had my life together. I went from feeling like an independent, studious sorority girl to a criminal loser. Before the accident, I was excited to move into my sorority house, but I had to sublease somewhere last minute instead. I felt embarrassed to go out in public at first since I knew for a fact that my mugshot was being sent around in group messages and that the worst night of my life was being ridiculed and made fun of.
I always asked myself, “I’m a good person…why is this happening to me?” Because good people make stupid fucking mistakes. Good people aren’t immune to bad things happening to them and good people don’t just get away with breaking the law. It took me a good amount of time to own up to my mistakes instead of blaming the Universe or God or bad luck. Even though I didn’t want to let one bad night and one bad mistake define me or my life, it ultimately did. I constantly thought about everything that I lost and how my life did change for the worse, even though I desperately wanted to convince myself that it didn’t. Sooner or later, instead of thinking about all the possibilities and the “what ifs” and the “whys” that drove me nuts, I decided that I was going to own it. I was going to go out and show my face and pretend like nothing happened, like I was happy to be a Greek life reject and that I was better off this way, and that a bump in the road wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying my college years. I suppressed all of my regret and embarrassment with even more alcohol and denial. And by transforming into this girl who wanted to drink to the point where she forgot who she was all the time, I wasn’t the girl that this guy fell for anymore. What I desperately needed was somebody to be there for me and reassure me that everything was going to be okay, but I pushed away the person that I wanted there the most by being a hot ass mess that seemed like more trouble than she was worth. The more distance that came between us, the sadder I got. So luckily for me, I found another reason to drink on top of everything else.
It’s been almost 10 months since that night and I still think about it every single day. I’m still aware of how different my life is now compared to what it would have been if I never made that one choice. But sometimes, I look around and realize that what I’ve got now isn’t too bad. I live in a cute apartment with two of my new best friends that I’ve made since the incident. I have a new job that I genuinely enjoy. I started off the semester strong and already aced my first exams. I have more motivation than I’ve ever had to succeed in the Journalism field and to keep writing about my personal story. I’ve stopped giving so much of a shit about what people think and am living my own truth. Best of all, I already have more confidence in myself after only 9 days that I can make the right choices and be in control of my own life. Maybe there are better things on the horizon for me soon, maybe I still have some more fighting and struggling to do, who knows? The second that I thought that my life was “perfect” was the second that God laughed at me and threw me a curveball that I never saw coming. You just never know what’s going to happen and you can’t make plans or worry about things that haven’t happened yet. As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, all you can do is take things day by day.