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A couple of months ago I had someone tell me that I wasn’t fun unless I had a few drinks in me.
My heart sunk as I made an offhand comment to change the subject and ran to the bathroom to take some deep breaths.
A few weeks ago my mentor asked what I like to do on the weekends. I said that I liked to use that time to read, write, sleep in, and tackle everything I didn’t have time to do during the busy week.
“I love going out and having a good time,” I told her. “But I’d much rather stay at home with a glass of wine and the company of some close friends rather than pound shots at a nightclub on a Saturday night, and I feel like that makes me boring.”
“No”, she said. “That makes you classy.”
I’m sure she didn’t realize that her comment made my eyes fill with happy tears, which I quickly choked back to let her know how much that meant to me.
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I’ll never forget the first time I blacked out from drinking.
It was at my first real high school party, and I had no idea what my tolerance level was or which liquors to avoid. A friend of mine at the time had suggested that, rather than play beer pong, we play vodka pong instead. I didn’t want to seem lame, so obviously I accepted the challenge.
I suppose you can imagine how the rest of the evening panned out.
Not only had I woken up the following morning with 20 missed calls from my mom and a terrible hangover…but I learned that the older guy I had a crush on had kissed me (to which I, of course, had no recollection), I had gotten sick in a parking lot in front of all my friends, and that people were carrying me around like a doll the whole night.
…Everyone thought it was hilarious. But you know what? It sure as hell wasn’t hilarious to me.
The following Monday at school felt like the most mortifying moment of my life. I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear when I walked into the common area before class and every pair of eyes locked on mine. Word travels fast in a small town, I suppose.
And then everyone started coming up, high fiving me, and telling me how hilarious and “messed up” I was. Wow, I thought. This is great! They think I’m so funny and cool!
And thus the cycle began…
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When I was a teenager, I thought that the only way to fit in and be accepted was to be a “party girl.” Some people who read this are absolutely going to laugh out loud at that statement, because I was also definitely a straight A, rule following, parent’s dream…but I also drank nearly every weekend of my high school life, went to parties where I got way too out of control, and truly believed that all of this was making me a really awesome, carefree, cool person.
That mindset stayed with me during my first couple years of college as well.
Party girls, to me, always seemed so carefree and badass. They didn’t care what anyone thought. They were independent, fierce, and spoke their mind. I wanted to be like that, too.
It wasn’t until I was stuck with my head in a toilet for the fifth weekend in a row my sophomore year of college that I realized I had gotten way out of hand and needed a major life change.
And once I (slowly but surely) got my shit together, changed my habits, and started caring about everything I put in my body…I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt! I had so much more energy, time to do the activities I loved, and I started attracting people into my life who were much more caring and considerate - people who I admired and genuinely looked up to. My anxiety began to subside, my skin glowed, and I felt like a whole new person. A really independent, badass, fierce person who could conquer anything she set her mind to. And you know what? I still feel that way.
I’ve been called lame on more than one occasion since changing my ways. During my junior and senior year of college, I could probably count the number of times I was heavily intoxicated on one hand. I went to bed early, took my internships and classwork seriously, and wanted nothing more than to have a game night with friends instead of hit the bars on Friday night.
Today, I love going dancing with my girlfriends, chatting over a cocktail or two, and letting loose every now and then…but the majority of my time is spent working to better myself and spending time with those who share similar values.
Alcohol does not dictate whether or not I am a fun, cool, carefree person.
I simply am :) And so are you.
So, if anyone ever makes the comment that “You’re not fun unless you drink”…go somewhere quiet, take a few deep breaths, and remember how good you feel both physically and mentally from the choices you've made.
Then step back out into the world, grab the cocktail you’ve been nursing all night, and smile.
Tori Talks was created to inspire people to become the most authentic and empowered versions of themselves - a space where personal experiences, tips, and tidbits guide others to live strong, grounded, and powerful lives.