NOW I’M LAYING ON THE COLD HARD GROUND

Dear Reader,

Lately I’ve been spending way too much time on the floor of public bathrooms.

Not because I’m an alcoholic or am making too many bad life decisions all in a row (well I might be, but that’s unrelated), but because I have POTS.

This morning I woke up and needed food–and because I keep none in my dorm, I had to leave to buy some. So at 10am, I strolled into the market with crimped, previously straightened, bed-head and mascara smudges on the bags of my eyes. I was wearing my high school soccer sweats paired with a “Future Wine Moms of America” sweatshirt and Bud Lite slippers.

There was probably no doubt in anyone’s minds that I had gone out last night.

(Side note: I didn’t. I went to a fancy dinner as my extremely-accomplished-friend’s plus one and then spent the rest of the night interviewing people for a profile feature. It’s funny how looks how deceive.)

I searched the store to see what I was in the mood for and decided on my go-to: cheese and crackers with a large bottle of water and an awake bar.

Because I am the person I am (or possibly because I broke my mirror this morning and will be receiving seven years of bad luck now), I got stuck behind a girl who was only buying three things: blueberries, drinks, and ice cream cones. But she bought about nine of each.

And the cashier was incompetent probably new. He rang up each ice cream cone, then realized it hadn’t worked, and had to run to the back of the store to get a similar one at the same price to try and ring up.

This isn’t a huge deal. The line wasn’t big and I only waited for about five minutes until it was my turn. But by the time she was gone and he was grabbing for my groceries while apologizing for the wait, I could barely make out the features in his face.

I tried to push on and said, “I only have my banner ID,” while tapping desperately on my phone trying to get my most recent screenshot of the number to open.

“Oh, that’s fine. I’ll get my manager.”

“No, no.” I tried to stop him. “I can tell you how to do it.” Working at King Cafe, I know how all the cash registers on campus work and I have shown many a student employee how to charge my account when I forget (or in this case, lose) my card.

(Side note: This happens at least bi-weekly)

“Oh no, I know how to do it. But my manager has to do it for me,” he tried to assure me.

Wrong again, I thought to myself, but at this point his entire face was splotched out and I couldn’t wait any longer. I was about to pass out.

“Alright, I’m sorry, I’m just going to sit down. I’m seeing stars,” I told him as I stumbled towards the tables and sat on one of the high seats. With my head in my hands, I realized this really wasn’t going to help my situation because the blood in my body wouldn’t return to my head unless I was on the ground.

But I wasn’t about to do that here.

At this point, the manager is at the cashier with the boy and they’re still mostly worried about the banner number dilemma. I kind of heard them like I was underwater but I smiled in my head as I realized that she was scrutinizing him because it’s not like she can just come to his side every time someone doesn’t have their ID–she has far more important things to do.

I got up at this point and said, “do you guys have a bathroom?”

“It’s not very clean, but come with me, girl.”

I followed the manager into the “employees only” section of the store and she pointed me towards the single bathroom in the far back corner.

I  collapsed onto the floor and propped my legs on the sink, waiting for my breathing to slow and the stars to subside.

It really never takes long once I reach this point to calm down and return my body to normal, but as I stared at the fluorescent lights above me, I realized how familiar of a perspective this is for me.

After a few moments, I sat up and chugged some water and realized how gross the tile floor was that I was laying on. But my head still felt funny and I didn’t know if I could make it back to my room without another episode, so I used my sweatshirt as a pillow, and lay down for a few more minutes before returning to buy my groceries and leave.

It was there that I snapped this picture to send to a few friends–not to worry them–just to say, look how great my life’s going right now.
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Especially since many of them had already seen this picture from my snap story.

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Anyway, so that’s the story of this morning. I really don’t know if I had a reason for writing it, it’s just that sometimes I think, why? Why  now do I have to deal with the fear of passing out in public. Why do I all of a sudden have to explain to strangers that I need to lay down because I haven’t had enough salt today? Why do I have to have a disease that sounds worse when I actually explain it?

I mean, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome?

Come on.

And, again, I know lots of people have it worse and lots of other people are asking why them for things I can’t even fathom dealing with. But, ugh, why??

Why do I have to be so familiar with public bathrooms?

Sincerely,

Sammy

AN OUTRAGED LETTER TO INSTAGRAM

Dear Reader,

My life is ridiculous enough for mildly entertaining stories, but not ridiculous enough for me to eventually make a sitcom out of my experiences, and that makes me sad.

If you don’t already know, I’ve been posting on instagram every day this year for a 365-day-challenge (except it’s a leap year so 366 days, except this story brings me back down to 365. You’ll get it in a sec.) So yesterday I posted this picture:

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With THIS caption: (literally this same exact one because I always send the caption to my sister first and if she says it’s funny, I’ll post it and if she says it’s not, I’ll say YOU’RE NOT FUNNY and post it.)

“I prefer to take my selfies on Snapchat because honestly the filters are 100x better.”

And THEN today I log on and see THIS.

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NOW, a little MORE background information. When something on instagram could be offensive or doesn’t agree with the morals behind my sorority, we can get “ducked” by our risk management chair, which basically means they put an emoji of a duck on our picture and we either have to change the caption or delete the photo because it is not appropriate to post (in one way or another).

In the past four days, I’ve been ducked TWICE.

And then today this happens??

So basically what I’ve decided is that I am incapable of making captions that aren’t offensive and I should probably just give up on instagram before I am ostracized by everyone who’s ever known me.

But anyway, I sent in a complaint and I’ll let you know what they say in return. Because honestly this is more entertaining to me than studying for linguistics.

Here’s the note:

“Dear Instagram,

I am very upset because my picture yesterday was taken down for an unclear reason. You can go look at my recent post to see both the picture and the message that I received when I logged on today, but basically I posted a picture that I took on snap chat and said, “I prefer to take my selfies on snap chat because honestly the filters are 100x better.” The picture featured me using the snap chat app to look like a bunny. It was a joke (v funny in my opinion) and I was offended that it was taken down.

I have posted every day on this app since the beginning of 2016 and this blunder caused me to mess up my streak. Needless to say, I am LIVID. It got positive feedback in my community and I got hella likes so I would appreciate a response so I can try to understand the reasoning behind why the picture was taken down or what exact guidelines I failed to follow.

Please respond as soon as you can or I might have to take my talent elsewhere.”

Sincerely,

Sammy

STORYBOOK: THE TIME THEY TOLD ME I HAD ADD

Dear Reader,

I think I’ve always been lazy. I have the ability to overcome it and can be weirdly motivated for certain projects, but I think at my core, I’m a lazy person. And I think the worst thing you can tell a kid that’s lazy is that they’re gifted.

Because that almost condones it, right? Like, you’re allowed to be lazy because things are going to come easier to you and for some reason, maybe genetics, maybe the way you were raised, you’re just not going to have to work that hard to pass classes. Not like some other students.

And I look back, and I can see that. I see that school was easy for me. I guess. In the sense that I didn’t put in that much effort on projects I didn’t like and I still managed to pass. And, like I said, I am capable of working hard. I spent so much time writing stories and songs and poems and in my personal journals. I even spent a lot of time doing math problems for fun and counting my quarter collection and designing my biome for science class. It didn’t really matter to me if it was for school or not–if I enjoyed it, I would do it. If I didn’t, I would procrastinate. And maybe I would never even get around to doing it.

Trust me, I know how bad that is. It’s one of the things I hate about myself, but I think it’s who I am at my core, which is why it’s so hard for me to change. But it’s gotten me in trouble. It almost got me kicked out of the accelerated fourth grade class I was placed in. And it did get me kicked out of honors English.

But I always managed to stay afloat and get grades that pleased my father and score in the top percentages of all of the standardized tests I took growing up. And then high school came along, and classes got boring.

Really boring.

In eighth grade I took algebra and american history, both of which I loved. So I excelled. Freshman year I took AP government and biology and geometry. Proofs and labs and dry reading were what (should’ve) filled my days.

I couldn’t do it, though. I couldn’t force myself to learn–or to focus. I spent classes daydreaming and looking out windows. But I guess it didn’t really end there. I think it might’ve carried over into conversations and even onto the soccer field.

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“Sorry, I zoned out.”

But, come on, I was fourteen years old! Of course I’m not going to be interested in AP government or every time my mother lectures me about my room. And yeah, sometimes it’s bad if I miss the starting lineup because my mind is somewhere else, but that only happened a handful of times.

So I laughed when my two friends confronted me.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but we think you might have ADD.”

I even laughed when I told my parents.

“You’ll never guess what Jaden and Lekha told me today!”

But instead of laughs, I got, “Alright, well we’ll schedule an appointment and go from there.”

What?

I still rolled my eyes on the way to the appointment. I mean, we were going to see a therapist. I didn’t need a therapist! (lol look at me now)

He was very nice, but I didn’t really get why we were doing all of this. I was in this closet-like room at first and had to click the mouse as soon as I saw the white letter X (I think) against the black screen. Don’t click for the other letters.

Eh, I think I was just trigger-happy.

Then he asked me a few riddles and basic math problems. I made sure not to fidget or shake my feet and I focused really hard. But, I mean, it was August. I was a little rusty.

I still remember a riddle about something with six strings on your back. I was stumped and I asked my mom about it in the car and she said, “guitar?”

Okay, so this guy’s going to tell me that I don’t have ADD, but I’m no longer gifted.

How did I not get guitar?

But, honestly, I thought I killed it. Yep, I was like, I know what ADD looks like and the way I presented myself was nothing of the sort. I’ve got nothing to worry about.

Later that day my brother drove me to soccer with his friend in the car and, laughing, I said, “Guess what I did today! Got tested for ADD!”

The awkward silence that followed told me that maybe I shouldn’t be joking about this quite yet.

Well, we went back awhile later and the guy told me that I could get a prescription for adderall. You know, for my ADD. Because my brain doesn’t work like others, he said. When most people have thoughts, basically, their brain can handle it. They can connect them quickly–he explained this as he moved his finger in a circle. But for me, I guess my thoughts go around that circle too quickly.

See? I’m too smart?

Just kidding.

He basically gave two examples. One, he said that’s why sometimes I say things without explaining how I got to that thought. I assume my thought process is the same as everyone else’s, but really, it can be kind of hard to follow along unless I articulate. And I guess that’s because of the speedy circles in my brain.

(I wish I knew something about neurology so I could explain this better)

(I should have at least tried to pay attention in biology)

Two, he said that if a teacher says, “don’t pay attention to the car honking outside,” and then a car honks outside, I’ll basically have to look. It’ll be an instinct that I can’t stop, or once my brain thinks “don’t look outside,” I’ll already be looking.

Yeah, I don’t know either. But every time a car honks outside, I look and I don’t know if it’s because he told me this years ago, or if it’s actually something I would do anyway.

That’s the thing–I feel like anyone who went to this guy could be diagnosed with ADD. I don’t know exactly what his evidence was, but I had a hard time buying it for a while. I’ve been on and off my meds (because I was an angsty teenager who was terrified of permanent, irreversible effects–actually, I am still very much both of those things). And then this year, I had to go months without them at all, and I felt absolutely hopeless. I felt broken. And dependent.

So that sucked.

And the worst thing is that I always see the pictures of how different brains look in regards to depression and ADHD and bipolar disorder, but there’s never ADD. The guy made a point that I didn’t have ADHD (the difference being hyperactive), but I never see anything regarding the struggles of people with ADD. And that sometimes makes me think it’s made up to sell performance-enhancing drugs (I would consider adderall and ritalin to be in this category) to motivationless kids.

Which brings me back to the reminder that I’m lazy.

So I don’t know what to think, but that’s the story of the time they told me I had ADD. And maybe one day I’ll write a story about the day I decided I was over it. Or maybe I’ll go back to that doctor and confront him and make him show me the notes he took on me and why he gave me this diagnosis.

I feel like it wasn’t supposed to screw me up so much, but it did. I feel like it was just supposed to explain some things–answer some questions I always had about myself. But I’ve been more confused than ever.

Sometimes I wish I could just have a full brain scan and they could tell me exactly what’s wrong with me.

But other times I think maybe I don’t want to know.

Sincerely,

Sammy

MY TEN-MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH EDIE

Dear Reader,

I have a 2015 bucket list, and I find that the thing I have to explain most is talk to strangers.

And it is kind of a weird thing to put on a bucket list, mostly because people don’t really understand the benefit that it could bring. But I firmly believe that every person you meet can teach you something, and if you don’t engage anyone, you might be missing out on those lessons. You might miss out on stories and experiences that can come from what might seem to just be small talk.

So that’s where Edie comes in.

My last day in Hilton Head was Friday, and it started out pretty bad. Really bad, actually. I was pissed off for a hundred different reasons, and just ended up being really grumpy all morning. And the day before, Sarah and I had gotten henna tattoos. But then we went swimming and took showers, and they were now really faded. We decided we’d go back and see if they could just be touched up, but after my awful morning, I didn’t see this happening. But my aunt wanted to go back to those shops anyway, and we did spend $40 combined for these things, so I got roped into going.

So we walk up to the kiosk and explain that we came yesterday, and showed how faded they were, and without hesitation this young girl behind the counter, Edie, offered to quickly go over them again. No charge. No need to validate that we were really here yesterday. She was just kind enough (and probably bored enough–it was really dead at 4pm on a Friday) to offer without question.

And the four of us started talking–just small talk at first. She told us how this was the calm before the storm, and how she loved this summer job and had lived on the island her whole life. And then she started telling us about her family. She’s the only girl out of all of her cousins, and the rest of her family is from Georgia. She was telling us how southern proper they are, and especially her grandparents. Then she explained this tradition she has.

Each summer, the kids are forced to go to “Manners Camp” at her grandparents’s lake house. They can bring two friends each, but they have to go to the hour sessions each night. And it kind of ages with them. They’re first taught please and thank you, and then to always hold doors open and then maybe how dinner places are set and the proper etiquette to use.

Well my aunt loved this idea–especially since it really related to some of the different conversations we had throughout the week. We talked about how we wish we had some big traditions in our culture, and how the girls that my sister babysits are brats and make her say she’s never having kids. And it’s true that kids these days maybe don’t seem to have the same manners that seemed to be pounded into our heads when we were younger, and that’s kind of sad. Even kids my own age seem to be so rude and disrespectful sometimes, and I hate that.

So right there, my aunt vowed that she is going to do this herself when she’s a grandmother and a great aunt. All of the cousins will be forced to go to her house and learn how to be polite and courteous. They’ll learn the skills that we both feel are so important to have. And maybe they’ll hate it and make fun of it, sort of like Edie, but it’ll be something they’ll eventually be thankful for. Something they’re glad they did once a year in the summers of their youth. Hell, I wish had something like that when I was a kid. Maybe our family would be closer because of it.

But it’s funny to think that this 10-minute conversation with a random girl at a henna kiosk sparked this future family tradition. And it’s sad to think that we’ll probably never see her again, because she really was a cool girl, but I’m so glad we went back that day. I’m glad we at least got to meet once in our lives.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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{STORYBOOK} LESSON TBD

I really am not that much of a partier, yet some people think that I am. On our last day at Miami, Jaden and I had a meal with two people we only saw very occasionally throughout the school year. They asked me how many days out of the year I’ve been sober, which kind of caught me off guard.

Maybe it’s because I go to a top party school in the US or because I’m in a sorority. Or maybe it’s because on the nights I do go out, I get really social. Because I get really drunk. And that’s just my drunk persona I guess.

But, to be honest, I never so much as tasted alcohol until the July after I graduated. And, even then, I probably only went to 4 parties that summer, and at school I don’t go out more than once a week. I’ve never gone out on a weeknight (besides GBD), and I don’t go out every weekend.

I’m a homebody for many reasons–mostly self-esteem involved–but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m not the kind of person who has more drunk days than sober days at college. And I’m certainly not the kind of person who would throw a party the second that her parents go out of town.

But when Sean came downstairs and said it’d be hilarious if I invited some friends over to party with his friends, I didn’t even hesitate. I just started texting.

Now, this is weirder than it sounds, because Sean and I have never really gotten along. In fact, he just recently told me that his friends know me as “the bitch.” This is in part due to my junior high days, as well as in part due to his exaggerations and the fact that none of them really know me, but I didn’t even give it a second thought. Instead, I just co-hosted a house part that comprised of the weirdest group of people.

We had Sean’s friends and mine, as well as some people I had never seen before, and others that just came and left before I even realized they were there. But it wasn’t a huge party by any means–and I’m fortunate. Nobody got hurt. Nobody called the cops. Nothing major happened.

I locked myself out of my room and lost my phone for most of the night. I found various hats and headbands to try on and I cleaned up someone’s pee. It was just your average party.

And we had all day Sunday to clean up–which we utilized. We swept and vacuumed and mopped and sanitized. We filled three trash bags and I assumed that Sean would be the one to take them to the dumpster. After all, he had been through this before. He’d already done this charade–I was the newbie. But he thought it was my job because we put them on the first floor, which was my responsibility. So we both went to bed figuring that we’d just take care of it the next morning, since our parents weren’t coming home until the afternoon.

Flash-forward to 10:40 the next morning, when my mom is yelling, “we’re home!”

Shit.

I get a text from Sean.

Mom is home. 

Is everything good? 

I’ll take the fall for it

What’s wrong??

Beer cans downstairs

Crap!

I’m just gonna say we were drinking while playing poker last night. 

Tell Sarah so she doesn’t say anything. 

Now, I was really impressed with Sean’s selfless offer, but my mind was still reeling with everything we might have forgotten. Are there beer bottles upstairs? Does the kitchen still smell like beer? Did anyone take out the trash bags??

Nope.

So my parents finally arrive home after waking up at 5AM and driving the 6 hours from Canada, and the first thing they see are three trash bags that reek of alcohol and are filled with bottles.

And then my little sister comes barreling through, unaware of the scene she just walked into, and goes on to confess to everything that happened over the weekend.

Yeah, we couldn’t get to her in time.

But I think in the end, it’s better that they know it all. And I’m glad we can be done with the lying.

So that’s kind of the whole story up to this point. We got the expected disappointed speeches about how disrespectful this was and do we know how much trouble Dad, as a very well-known doctor in this town, could get into? And, of course, how we’re never being left home alone again.

But I feel like the story isn’t finished yet. This was just the beginning of what is supposed to be my last summer at home, and I think we might’ve just altered the dynamic in a way that can’t be repaired. And even though we spent all of yesterday cleaning, our parents have made it known that our punishment has yet to really begin.

So the true moral may be clearer in hindsight, but I still decided to ask my siblings what they think the lesson here is. My brother says he’ll never trust me with any ounce of responsibility ever again. My sister says she’ll never ever lie to our parents ever again. And I think it could be a lot of things. Maybe I should be more respectful, or more careful. Maybe I should just think things all the way through from now on.

But I certainly know I’ll never throw a party at this house ever again. Because it’s just not worth it.

INTRODUCTION TO THE STORYBOOK

Dear Reader,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m going to get back around to the weekly pictures but for a while it was just kind of a chore, so I stopped. One, because I want to spend my time doing something I enjoy and something I’ll look forward to. And two, because I’m really bad at completing my chores.

But I have an update. I mean, it has been a while since I last wrote. I’m done with school now, and I’ll never be a freshman again. Things are changing and some have already changed.

But I have an idea. I’ve been realizing more and more how awful my memory is, which is a really sad realization. I feel like sometimes my memory is very selective, too. I think I just block things out. Just an example: I hated my brother all throughout our teens. But when I think about this, it’s sometimes hard to remember why, exactly. I’ll think, well he was mean to me, but then I can’t think of anything he ever did, specifically.

And then I’ll read my journal. I’ve kept a journal since the sixth grade, but when I was in high school I only wrote in it a few times and it was always after something happened. A lot of this had to do with Sean. So I’ll read about some of the things he would say to me, or stories about some of the fights we’ve had, and it’ll all come rushing back. Memories that I just blocked out because they were embarrassing or hurtful or just painful to relive.

Anyway, these memories aren’t exactly the ones I wish to recall, but there are some stories that I forget about completely until something random reminds me of them. And some of those stories are worth remembering, and worth sharing.

I’ve been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother recently, which is how I got the idea to create a storybook. I want to start documenting the momentous occasions of my early adult years. I want to have stories I can tell my children.

Because every good story has a moral, right? A lesson that needs to be learned, sometimes the hard way. There’s definitely a moral of the story I’m going to share tomorrow…

But even more, having a storybook will encourage me to fill it. It will encourage me to stop being a homebody and actually go out. It will encourage me to believe every night can be legendary.

So I have a hard copy of this, but I’m also going share some of these stories here, because why not? I’ve been neglecting WordPress lately, and I’d like to get back at it. And what better way to get back at it than with a story?

Sincerely,

Sammy

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