“Never feeling totally comfortable with who I am, during my school years I found outlets in music, academic excellence and extracurricular activities to validate myself through the admiration and approval of others. It’s not that I didn’t love doing those things. I was enthusiastic about being in the School Choir, National Honor Society and involved in functions outside normal school hours.
My mindset and motivators were to be the perfect son, the perfect student, and admired by my peers. In my Senior year, I worked on the Yearbook Staff writing copy, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” and it seemed like I had it all wrapped up. Being one of the youngest students in my graduating class, and still immature in many ways, when I left school I floundered. I faced uncertainty, loneliness, rejection and fear.
My near future plans were laid out before me by a full scholarship that would lead to a “good career”. Naive and gullible, I began my post-secondary education hundreds of miles from home. My attempts to join Freshmen and Upperclassmen in activities outside school, and present myself in a way I thought I would be liked or included, left me vulnerable to be used and manipulated.
At first, I was invited to parties off-campus where there was pot, booze and quaaludes. Quaaludes are a sedative/hypnotic drug that became popular during the 1970’s as a recreational party drug. Having fun, smoking pot, doing ludes, hanging out, meeting people and making friends was cool. I was in a new place with new people and I was already “cool” with those I sought approval from. There came a time later in life when I would look back with sadness and regret. In my amateur self-analysis, I came to the realization I was set on a path of secretive, self-destructive behaviors. They would lead to a lifetime of emotional turmoil, much success and dramatic failures.”
I HAVE A TALE TO TELL continues and the next entry will be posted
Monday, June 26th.