Do you have a period in your life that was absolutely and unquestionably you?
Don't get me wrong, I've always been me and I've never strayed from that. I don't think it fair to others to be one April one minute and a different April the next – I've always been me, sometimes so much without limits or boundaries that it's shocked those around me. But I tend to not apologize for my behavior, especially when it's all in fun . . .
But do you remember a time in your life where everything was so real, so touchable, and yet so surreal at the same time? Think with me here. I'm talking about a time, phase, period when you knew exactly what your future would hold, how to grasp it, and you wondered why the hell others were so lost when living this . . . amazing life came so easy to you.
Do you see what I'm saying yet?
I, absolutely and unquestionably, felt the most myself between 17 and 18. I worked my ass off; between work and school and the community newspaper, I hardly had any time to myself – and I didn't want it any other way.
During high school, I quickly became a success at my jobs. I knew how to deal with bosses and other employees. The bosses knew I worked hard, and they loved me for it. My co-workers knew they could depend on me to be there, do my job, and not cause any friction. It didn't matter if I was working in a restaurant or cold-calling people to conduct phone surveys – I excelled. Quickly. I was excelling in school, also. After being rather slack-jawed during freshman year, I picked up the pace and started kicking some ass in classes, drama, and journalism. My teachers loved me. If I wasn't working after school I'd likely be found working on the paper or rehearsing for the weekend drama competition. Spare time was taken by my closest friends or whoever I was seeing at the time. I had a crazy-ass schedule, still saw people, partied like crazy, smoked the hell out of pot, when the time was right I drank like mad.
I did what the fuck I wanted to do, I made me happy. I didn't worry about anyone else, what they needed. I was all for helping someone out and was still the best friend then that you could ever have – but I never sacrificed myself and my basic needs for others – I never HAD to because the others that I was with could help themselves as much as I could help myself.
When there wasn't a door that would open for me, I would MAKE a door. I was April. You heard me roar. (Okay, that was cheesy. You must forgive me.)
My point is that I was at peace with myself and loved the things I did. I loved the people I hung out and did things with. I didn't feel the need to prove myself – at all – because I knew that the people I was with loved me, absolutely unconditionally. I involved myself with the activities that pleased me. I pulled myself away from television, away from movies, and focused on the music I loved while driving down the road to do something else I enjoyed or see someone else I loved.
I haven't felt that clarity very often for a long time now – I felt it when Alison came in from Massachusetts and I went out with my gals, and I felt it Thursday night.
Thursday night I was sitting around with a few great friends and some great friends of theirs drinking some punch, laughing at us trying out the Slip-n-Slide, munching on some burgers and hot dogs, and doing what the hell I wanted to do. I had to wait a while to sober up before I could drive home. I didn't get home until midnight and I had to work the next day, but fuck, it was worth it. There for a minute I felt that 17-18 year old April back in her body. After a while it actually made me sad that I'd have to leave that and go back to my reality.
The question I submit to you . . .
Is this bad? Is this wrong? Is it something you've ever experienced? Am I living in a "fantasy world" thinking that I could ever actually go back to doing what the hell I wanted to do, getting myself away from the tv, painting, drawing, singing, acting, seeing people and drinking with them? Or is this my right as an adult – to do what I want, all others be damned?
Am I throwing a temper tantrum? A midlife crisis? Or am I so unhappy that any time I enjoy myself, I'm reverting to a life that doesn't exist anymore?