TaJuan is an aspiring writer hoping to gain experience and growth through publishing passionate works, like this one, online for the world.
Hey, can you do me a favor?
I said these words to my coworker who was three years older than me. I was 18 at the time. You do the math. I was in an experimental mood. My hypothesis: if I were to drink alcohol, then my crippling feelings of depression and heartbreak would go away. All I had to do was get my hands on some, and she was the perfect avenue to take. She had no idea of the demons I was losing to, no one truly did. Some rather observant people probably could have noticed that I was wearing long sleeves more often in the middle of summer, clearly covering up something. But, even if they did notice the phenomena, or God forbid noticed the scars, no one said anything. Maybe if they did something, anything, I wouldn’t have driven to my coworker's house. Maybe I wouldn’t have picked up the two cans of strong alcohol. Maybe I wouldn’t have emptied them in quick succession (my poor liver). Maybe I wouldn’t have broken down in front of my ex, screaming and melting about for my neighbor’s nightly entertainment (it was a horror movie, and everyone was at the edge of their seats). Maybe I wouldn’t have continued my descent into madness. Maybe I wouldn’t have…well, there’s no point in thinking in hypotheticals, for what’s done is done. While I tried my hardest to become an alcoholic, I eventually learned one thing from my experiences: alcohol is not my drug. At the time, I thought I was going to be married to sobriety forever. Good times.
You’re going to be able to hear colors and see sounds
My nicotine phase didn’t last long. I just couldn’t get into it like the other kids. Another failed experiment. I did remember the other thing she told me that night: she prefers weed. Everyone around me smoked or ingested weed. From my father, to my brother, to even my grandpa: all flirted with Mary Jane. Now, it was my turn. My final experiment. I had a friend who knew a person who could get me a cart. My first “drug deal” went smoothly like melted butter. It was time. I took a hit from the cart and felt nothing. Nothing, at all. I refused for another repeat of the vape incident, so, I took another hit, and then another, and then another, and then…I was gone. I was able to hear colors and see sounds. I became a tortoise, moving at speeds that even the gloating rabbit could overcome in a race. Nothing felt real, especially time, which felt no more than a concept. My mind was numb to sadness. The illness that used to plague my suffering head had vanished, and for the first time in months, a genuine smile appeared on my face. I was “happy.” My friend drove me home that night. I can recall the glorious lights that seemed to move at my command, dancing to the music I had played which felt so good. Music plus weed would become like peanut and jelly to me: a reliable combination. I played songs that, for the longest time, I only imagined how it would feel when in that state. I was in a mode of pure, unadulterated bliss. The idea of me actively breaking the law didn’t even cross my mind, for paranoia was an effect that had yet to surface. I was just enjoying the moment, and when I finally made it home and laid on my bed, I knew that I had found my newest addiction. A successful experiment.
Stop the music, stop the music. He’s having a seizure.
In the background, me, and two of my friends were being serenaded by Frank Ocean and his wondrous voice. Two of us were getting high, while one chose to opt out. Eventually, a song had hit me a certain way, and left me weak. My eyes began to blink at rapid speeds, which was bizarre because the rest of my body went limp. I fell to the ground slowly. I had effectively lost control of my body. My friends began to freak out because I looked like a flopping fish on land. I wasn’t scared, for this had happened before, so I thought this was normal…it was not. Me and weed are oil and water. My body rejects the poison as if it were going to kill me. But, I needed it. It made me feel so good, so free. It was the escape I have been looking for for months at that point. Why would I let it go? I could deal with some oddball side effects as long as my mental health was protected. That’s the thing about life though, no matter how you try to escape the suffering, it always finds a way to reintroduce itself into your life. Paranoia and anxiety delivered mighty blows to my psyche. I was scared frequently, while sober and high. The poison, acting as a numbing agent for my depression, started to become less and less effective, for depression sneakily found its way into my higher mind. And, the final nail on the coffin: school was to start soon. So, the new experiment had failed, and I was left defeated, depressed, and sober…for now.
Why aren’t you drinking?
It all started on this snow day. Everyone was essentially stuck in the dorm hall, and there wasn’t much to do. Boredom reigned supreme across the land, and, at least for me, smiles became foreign. That was until this girl started to text me. I had slid up on her Snapchat story to comment something about her dog that she posted. She replied with something along the lines like, do you want to come meet them? In order to defeat the wretched boredom, I was all for it. So, we met up at the lobby, and chatted for a while. We simply got to know each other, like our respected majors, hobbies, and goals for the future. She was rather flirtatious, so I reciprocated with being a little flirty myself. However, everything shifted when I learned that she had a boyfriend. See, I had just recently gotten in between a girl and her guy because the girl wanted me, so I didn’t want a repeat of that fiasco, thus, I quickly backed away from flirting…but she didn’t. Eventually, she offered me to join her in a dorm party which would include me, her, and her friend who was baked at the time. I agreed because again, boredom needed to be defeated. Yet, I resolved to not drink too much since I had learned my lesson from past mistakes: me and alcohol do not create a fun time. We arrived at her dorm room and continued our chat. Still, she remained flirtatious, but now she had alcohol in her system which did not prove to be a good mix. Though she was taller than me, she could not handle her alcohol as well. I personally took my time with drinking, and she noticed this, which led to some questionable acts. Every time I would put my cup down, she would grab it and put it back in my hand. At times, she would even force it into my mouth for me to take sips. She would continuously question me why I wasn’t drinking, obviously pressuring me to get drunk. She succeeded, and I was in the palm of her hand. Her friend and her started to whisper in front of me, which did not seem to be a good sign. Suddenly, her friend retired to his room, leaving me and her alone. I asked if she wanted me to leave as well, which she declined. She was so clearly intoxicated, and I was so clearly frightened. I knew she was going to kiss me. I knew she was going to guilt trip me to have sex. I knew I was going to try everything in my power to stop this from happening, but I knew that if I didn’t do what she asked, she would spin this in a way where I would end up in loads of trouble. Would society really believe that the white woman raped the black man? I was her puppet, her toy for the night, and I was played with viciously. I left that room feeling disgusted, with her, with life, and with myself. At the end of that sick, sick night, there was only one thought that pervaded my mind: I needed to get high.
I began getting high again the very next day. I received my first ever edible from a guy I had a class with who would later become one of my close friends. I had missed the feeling, the sensation, but like before, depression had seeped its ugly head to the forefront of my mind. My solution? I just had to get higher. So, I purchased another cart, which my friends say I had hit like a vape. My mouth and the cart were like magnets, two lovers destined to be connected till death separated us, and it was a coin flip to see who would die first. I knew I wasn’t happy; it was clear as day to me. I started cutting class, or, if I were to go, go to class high. I would wake up early in the morning to get high, which was saying something because I would still be high from the prior night. I was avoiding my problems that so desperately needed to be cured, but I refused. I didn’t want to get better. All I wanted was to die; however, I could not overcome my fear of death to down a bottle of pills again. I was not strong enough. Nonetheless, I tried other avenues. I almost bought cocaine from my friend’s dealer, hoping to overdose on that, but she successfully prevented my plan. I revisited painting my arm red with my own blood, though I wasn’t determined enough to do any fatal damage. Nothing worked. I had one last idea to pursue: my edibles. No one has died from ingesting weed, but the aftermath of getting too high has led to people ending their lives prematurely. Therefore, I had decided I was going to purchase a bag of edibles and eat them all. It equated to 750 mg. I ate them slowly, close to second guessing my decision, however, before I could turn back, the bag was empty. It was time to take a trip to a different dimension. I was ready. Nothing happened for a long time, until finally, the blinking began. I began blinking up a storm, my body was not happy with me at all. Thoughts of the world living in some sort of stimulation invaded my brain. I was going crazy—it was so fun. Unfortunately for the depressed me, I refused to kill myself that night. I truly believe everything happens for a reason, so there is a reason I am still here on this Earth, fighting demons and making beautiful memories. I won’t let some girl take all of this away from me, for I have purpose, though I am still finding it day by day. Regrettably, even though I tried fighting it, the addiction stayed. I was now married to the poison.
Tell me where you’re going
Don’t let me get too high, is what I told my friends. We were leaving this open mic I performed at, and we were going to go smoke weed at a person’s house who was also there. I had class the next morning, and I was trying to become a better student and not skip class. Woefully, those plans fell to the wayside. At that person’s house, they had a homemade gravity bong. I have never heard or seen one of these before, but I was down to try something new. Little did I know that it was going to make me higher than God above. I had never gotten so high, so quickly before. It was amazing. It reminded me of those pure highs I used to have when I first started. It was a beautiful moment. But then, the booming drums started playing, and a man who I've never listened to before said he’s off on an adventure and dedicates the song to kids like him. His name is Scott Mescudi, also known as Kid Cudi. I have heard of Kid Cudi before from this guy who always said I looked like him, but I’ve never listened to his music before. This was all about to change as his song, “Mr. Rager,” began to play. He starts off talking about the flying birds and how I (he uses “you” in the song) are envious of them. This is a thought I have had for the longest time prior to listening to the song, for the birds literally fly above the worries of the world, and I desperately wished to be like them. In the second verse, he speaks about how life, with its attachment to suffering, beats us down, leaving us questioning when will this fantasy world (reality) end, and heaven (the better life beyond reality) begin. Again, a sentiment I can completely get behind, seemingly words I was destined to hear. The kicker, however, comes from the chorus. Mr. Rager, a character from Cudi’s magnificent mind, based upon his own personal near-death experience, is asked by onlookers' various questions. One of these questions stuck out like the moon on a dimly lit road: “Tell me where you’re going/ Tell me where you’re headed? At the time, I didn’t quite know where I was going, and as I looked around the room, a combination of friends and strangers, all filled with the same poison that was inside of me, I didn’t quite know if I liked where I was headed. During that dark time, I was convinced I wasn’t making it to 20 because of the horrid lifestyle I lived: barely sleeping, spending money carelessly, rarely drinking water, and always high. I wasn’t happy, I knew this, and it was time for a change. Unlike Mr. Rager, it wasn’t my time to go to heaven.
I have successfully cut drinking out of my desires. No longer will I be tempted by the demonic liquid. Weed has proven to be a little bit harder to drop. Life is still as difficult as ever, and I am not entirely sure I am ready to let it go. Nonetheless, I am beginning counseling soon, and have been regularly medicated for a couple months now. I am finally taking the steps I need to finally find full sobriety again. The battle will be a hard one, but that’s life. I am excited for my future, more than I ever have before, since, for the first time in a long time, having a future isn’t some sick, twisted joke anymore, but something I promise to turn into reality.