I have been so busy the last few days that I haven’t written a single blog post. And these usually only take me 15-20 minutes to write.. I just let the words flow, rarely ever edit them, and just post from the heart. I have been pushing myself so hard to be happy out here in California, to make friends, to find a job, to make the most of every day, to stay in touch with friends and family back home.. that I knew I was building up towards a major meltdown. At some point, something was bound to trigger me into a downward spiral of homesickness and sadness, I just didn’t know what it was going to be.
It happened last Thursday.
The day started off amazing. My friend from college was visiting his family in San Diego, which is only an hour south of where I live, so we decided I would drive down and we would spend a day together hanging out and catching up. I was excited to get out of the apartment, go somewhere new, and reconnect with this friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. We hung-out at the beach and reminisced on old memories and mutual friends. This was all fun and games until I got caught up in lingering on aspects of the past that I hadn’t handled well, had messed up, and felt strongly about. And on top of that.. we decided to end the afternoon by going to the bar.
We found this little hole-in-the-wall place with cheap drinks, and continued enjoying hanging out with each other. But he had plans with his family that evening, and eventually had to leave to meet up with them. And I made the dumb choice of staying at the bar for another beer alone. I should’ve just left when he did, driven home safely, and everything might’ve been fine. But tipsy Lauren is known for making the blatantly wrong decision, and that’d what I did. I stayed for another….. and another… and another.. until I had lost count. Unfortunately, I also decided to check my social media accounts while sitting there, and I saw that my two best friends in the whole world were out drinking and exploring our city together. I’m pretty sure that’s when I truly lost it.
I was so low. Far away from anyone I knew, in a strange area, drunk, lonely… it was a disastrous combo. I don’t remember texting anyone or tweeting.. but I later found that I did both, telling the people I love most (and one of my ex’s?!) that I didn’t want to be around anymore, that I didn’t care what happened to me, etc. I put them through so much stress, and I am ashamed of that. I was reaching out for help to anyone who would listen. I couldn’t take the loneliness anymore. I had been acting so strong for so long, that it all finally came crashing down around me. I literally started crying at the bar (no, not in the bar bathroom like a controlled person, at the actual bar-top), which I only know because I tweeted about it. Think that’s all awful and horribly embarrassing? Just wait.. it gets worse.
I made the idiotic, selfish, and reckless decision to drive home. Even though I was completely unfamiliar with the area, definitely too intoxicated, and emotionally compromised. I know I must’ve been flooring it down the freeway, surrounded by innocent and unaware people that did nothing to deserve the level of danger I put them in. I can’t believe I would do something so stupid.
On top of that, I called said ex. Thankfully, he talked me through my meltdown (he knows about my alcohol/mental health struggles) and stayed on the phone with me until I got home (which took way longer than expected because I had to pull over twice in two random neighborhoods, one time to cry and one time to vomit). We both got some closure about our situation, which we had never had, but I still should’ve never done it. I shouldn’t have stayed at the bar, shouldn’t have gotten in the car, shouldn’t have tapped into my past. I fucked everything all the way up.
What have I learned from this? It’s ok to not be ok, and to wear your feelings on your sleeve. If I hadn’t been trying to look “so adjusted” and “so successful” within 3 weeks of moving across the country and leaving everything I’ve ever known 2,000 miles away, I probably wouldn’t have gotten to crisis level. I have to be gentle with myself. I am not always going to be happy and positive out here. Some days, I’m going to want to throw in the towel and retreat back to the safety and familiarity of Georgia. Some days, I’m going to be so homesick that my chest physically hurts and I am sick to my stomach. But the good days are so so so worth fighting for, and I am never going to stop trying to make each day one.
And to be clear, I am NOT going to be drunkenly figuring my way around California again. From now on, I will be confronting my toughest emotions sober- or if I fail at that, I will be drunkenly screaming sad songs from the safety of my apartment.