From Bad Crazy... to Good

Part 1

Welcome to the chaos- a monthly series of everything I did wrong, and how I loved every minute of it. Make sure your mind is open, and enjoy the ride.

Doesn't the idea of turning 21 sound exhilarating? That's what I always thought; it would make me an “adult”! 21 brings about a new sense of freedom, possibility, and all the excitement of being young with nothing tying you down.  
Prior to turning 21, I was an insecure pothead wrapped up in a five- year, unhappy, soul-sucking relationship. This was my comfort zone and the person I thought I would marry. He was my first, and even though I wasn't happy, I was ready to settle down with him - convinced that things would get better. I finally got the courage to change the life I've known for the last five years. I ended it.

This is the turning point where a sweet and quiet little girl turned into a reckless whirlwind; destroying everything in her path.

Typically people just have drunken night out with girlfriends to grieve the end of a relationship. Not me. I went to a tattoo convention in Baltimore. I drank around the clock and was praised for it. I was finally allowed to wear revealing, wild outfits. It was a great experience that I won't ever forget. But there are some memories from that night that I wouldn't mind losing. I would like to forget having sex with a man who had a girlfriend in the other room, and my best friend in the bed right next to me.

This was just the beginning of my chaos. I was ready for more; I wanted to experience everything, and the fantasy I had of being 21 promised that.

When the day of my 21st birthday finally arrived, I walked straight to the liquor store, bought a bottle of rum, and drank it to the last drop. That day I also got a tattoo that I barely even have a memory of happening. Apparently it was a very painful spot; but I felt nothing – it was all numbed out.
This was the starting point of my blackout drinking. At the time, it was awesome. I thought I was on top of the world because my alcohol tolerance was getting higher. If I could drink like the guys, then I'd be happy.
Where else would I have been than my typical hangout spot? It was my best friend's tattoo shop where there was a constant party around the clock. I would wake up, go straight the shop; wasting the day away doing whatever the hell I wanted. I got tattoos, cut my hair short,  and dyed it all sorts of colors. Friends would pop in and out all day. I became a fixture there that was as permanent as the ink on our skins. I vividly remember all of us getting stoned and starting a gumball war. Things seemed to be going well since I was having the time of my life. The tattoo shop was my party house; my escape.

It emanated alcohol, weed, freedom, and sex - and was much more than I could handle. But it's me; I could handle anything because I was indestructible.
That is until I was introduced to Xanax. Drinking and eating bars make you blackout completely? Well nobody told me that fact. Next thing I knew, I was having sex with someone I didn't, or in my mind, didn't remember giving consent to.
Everyone turned against me. They said it was my fault. It was my own doing, that I was completely aware of what was going on and that I was of sound mind. Falling head first into the window of the tattoo shop was evidently not enough of a sign to make anybody realize that I was not okay. I was a rape victim, but my“friends”repeatedly told me I wasn't, so I believed them. I was convinced that being raped was my fault.
But this still didn't stop me from drinking, from taking Xanax, or from hanging around those friends. I pushed the issues aside and hid out as usual, waiting for the storm to blow over.

I started dating a tattoo artist who was living with his fiance and cheated on him. Cheating, rape, whats the difference in the end?  Call me a home-wrecker, but that story has so many components, I still don't fully understand what happened in that relationship.
My year of finally being 21 was packed with losing friends, having more sex with more people, eating Xanax for meals, and of course drinking and smoking weed every chance I got.
I felt unstoppable. I didn’t care if I lost some friends for a bit…there were always men around to provide wonderful distractions and fill the void from the people I've lost. Dating tattoo artists became a new hobby. They were badasses and did as they pleased; not following rules from anyone. They were creative and spontaneous. Keeping up with them wasn't hard, but holding onto them was.
I just kept moving onto the next. Being single was boring; but dating three different people at once was exhilarating. I still can't believe I pulled that off; but like I said, I was indestructible.
This was just the first taste to my crazy life that kept progressing into much more. More chaos will be revealed next month. Stay tuned my lovely roses.

By Elle Rea

Reflection Magazine