I wasn’t a very adventurous teenager. I was mostly concerned with potential repercussions for certain actions, tip-toeing ever-so-carefully to avoid the landmines of consequence.
As a result, I was rarely invited to parties. I was the person who was like, “Did you know ecstasy can burn holes in your brain?”
A fun sponge, if you will.
As a result, I rarely did anything “naughty” or bad or wrong, and certainly avoided anything illegal. I snuck out one time ever and when I got home I immediately woke up my mom to confess.
She was like, “…Okay, Honey. I’m going back to sleep.”
And I’m over there like, “HOW CAN YOU GO BACK TO SLEEP AFTER I’VE DONE SUCH A HORRIBLE THING.”
Yes, I had that strict of a moral code for myself.
And I sometimes still do.
There was never really a time where I let myself feel free or test limits… Until I found alcohol and pills. That mixture helped to numb those inhibitions and make me feel fearless.
(Until I sobered up… And then I’d retroactively feel the shame and remorse of whatever I’d done.)
And so, in sobriety, I’m just now getting to a place of feeling a sense of freedom and adventure. I want to take chances and live life rather than isolate in my room under my covers.
This is a big deal.
A month ago I went on a solo nighttime walk to the neighborhood lake. I sat on the dock with my toes in the water, swinging my legs and splashing droplets… Marveling at how gravity works.
The stars were out, the night was clear, and I thought Man I wish someone was here with me so we could go skinny dipping.
And then I thought–Wait. Why do I need someone else here? I could go by myself.
(Fun Police in my head): You might die!
Alligators! You’ve seen Lake Placid!
There aren’t any alligators in here.
Fish! Fish that have warped into mutants over the years of sitting in stagnant water! They’ll eat your toes!
Maybe, but I think I’ll be fine.
BUGS. WATER BUGS. THEY’LL CRAWL INTO YOUR ORIFICES AND GIVE YOU DISEASES.
I’m getting in the water.
(Jen looks around, and then starts taking off clothes.)
YOU’LL BE ARRESTED. OR RAPED.
(Jen slips into the water.)
(Jen lays on her back, floating, looking up at the stars. She closes her eyes.)
Don’t keep your eyes closed for too long. Aliens.
I mean, those movies had to come from some sort of experience.
(Jen keeps eyes closed, breathes, and totally releases weight to the water.)
Keep in mind, I only kept my eyes closed for increments of 10 seconds, because the fun police voice was mighty loud… And I was admittedly nervous. But I pushed through it.
You’re going to drown! And they’re going to find you naked. NAKED. Naked and bloated and nibbled on by mutant fish!
(Jen breathes calmly and stares at the stars.)
I felt free (and a little bad) as I awkwardly crawled back onto the dock in the least sexy way possible.
YOU CLEARLY NEED TO WORK OUT MORE.
On the walk back, my inner ears hurt a little bit.
TOLD YOU. BUGS. INNER EAR BUGS. GIVING YOU EAR CANCER.
I showered (and thoroughly cleaned my ears) and winked at myself in the mirror.
It’s fun to have these intimate and adventurous experiences with myself. It’s a new thing for me.
And now that I’m sharing it, Fun Police is like SOMEONE IS GONNA’ GET MAD AT YOU.
But… Fuck it.