Four Parts Misguided
Part 1: Freshman Year
I suppose I hated the majority of them from the start. I was different, and I knew that. I couldn’t fake whatever it was they were trying for. I was trying for me, to get a clean and clear message of who I was, across to all those sanctimonious confused and ill-informed faces, and yet they didn’t understand any of it. Maybe I was bad at attempting to fit in. I would occasionally be undeniably graphic or loud and boisterous for no reason other than to satisfy my own awkward position of trying to fit in with a group that, for the most part, didn’t ever have anything in common.
Sure, there were things we could learn from each other, forming hushed opinions in the back of our heads about what we really thought of them, but I suppose the truth of such a frazzled experience was that we were just waiting for something better to come along. We were all trying to get laid in our own right, and also thinking about the future of our lives as more than just statuesque bodies eventually all spinning around the same one-horse town. We could end up anywhere. We had potential, and even if we weren’t quite sure of what we wanted to do, there were other examples of people who maybe did know where their life was going. People who did actually have it figured out in some obsolete definition of the word. I would later realize that these same people were simply better at pretending than I was.
I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It just hit me one day, like some sort of divine purpose. A disease or some distant plague that had just crossed the border over to my particular neck of the woods. I wanted to be a writer, and they all saw me as that person, and yet didn’t ever take the time to wander about what I was writing, let alone read anything. It was one of those lopsided points of view where they would eventually realize that when I was in my own zone of lush phrasing and calm reflection on the day’s refrain, the people who weren’t necessarily around but still somehow inspiring me, and those that were two feet away slowly and gradually picking away at my skin like it was Velcroed to my organs, that I didn’t necessarily want to be bothered with campus news of public urination and the slow decent of liberal studies electives.
We were all taking them, and still taking them. “You can never be too well-rounded” is what they would tell us. Like some of us need knowledge of obscure philosophical passages or anthropological digs that really didn’t solve anyone’s bigger problems, the main one at that time having been how does one manage to get laid in college? They say it’s easy. That is to say if you have lowered standards of everybody you’ve ever met in your entire life. I can very easily take anybody through the elaborate motions of my thought process on this very subject, but in any case I sort of want to get back to my initial point.
From the start, I’ve always felt more than a little lost. I don’t belong here, and by here I mean pretty much everywhere I’ve been in my entire life. Maybe there’s a town for me somewhere, it doesn’t have to be huge just full of all the right and wrong possibilities. This town and general location I am living at right now isn’t where I should be. I’m slowly sinking into the ever-so proper and readily accepted way to act around everybody I know, all the people I met my freshman year no longer included. Their distant faces now, people I pass by with a subtle head nod as I try to wonder why we all just sat around together and pretended like the holes in the wall were television sets taking us to far off lands. The familiar stains on the floors and ceilings of our lives were there to make our stomachs slowly sink before we turned back on the anesthesia.
I don’t really wonder all that much about what they’re doing, how they’re living their lives. Once we’re all out of this place it’s just going to be another tangled face in the crowd. I’ll be one place for longer than expected before eventually deciding to slowly retreat to another. We never discussed the bigger things back then. In fact, even the things that seemed bigger were just temporary solutions for any and all of us to stroke our egos gently before rolling over on the creaky box-springs and silently reassuring ourselves that this is what everybody does. They all meet new people and form destructive opinions on them. They learn to hate them in ways they didn’t think possible. They learn to avoid and distract themselves from all that is and isn’t happening, and they do it because they don’t necessarily understand why such an intermediary period is necessary in life.
It was like trying to gets somebody to listen to a band that they would never have any interest in. They always write them off before they hear them play, because they’ve either heard things about them, be they good or bad, overly-hyped, or sensitively shaken. Their opinions are already formed regardless of the sound and in that case, it doesn’t matter how good they are, because it will always be the same outcome.
As we all moved out and away from our lackluster decision-making skills, that formulated when we were all stuck starring at cleavage and chalkboards, the drone of the more than a little indecisive person standing in front of us, calmly reiterating one simple adult statement “You actually have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life eventually,” and started to actually form real opinions on the way things are, we soon realized that it would eventually come crashing down on us. We would have to extradite ourselves from that which we knew and learned to live with.
In short, freshman year was full of less than optimistic feelings about the future. It was full of new faces we saw pass us by everyday and never wanted to get to know. It was a time for people to turn into what they always wanted to be. The person their parents wouldn’t let them be in high school was now, all of a sudden, a real life option. We wanted to be larger than ourselves. Our opinions were our crawl spaces. Sometimes we would have to hide inside of them all alone, trying not to let their awkward truths filter past the grating. Other times they were our downfall, as everybody didn’t necessarily feel the exact same way all the time.
In other cases, it was something that made us homesick or slowly come to such a untimely and callow realization that possibly there was something we all missed as we ran for the hills away from the familiar. I thought I was falling in love and it was before I could just blame it all on the drugs.