I have never done drugs.
I have never even smoked a cigarette.
That was true. Until this weekend past.
I was the one person in my group of friends who had never done drugs. It was this thing that I did, or had, or touted. I don't really know.
|super nerd swagger.|
It started as the rebellion of a dinosaur tshirt-wearing 9yr old deciding that the idea of a "gateway drug" was just stupid, and that to throw off the statistics they would start with harder drugs and move into weed...it was a stupid idea.
But the reality is weed IS a gateway drug. It familiarizes you to recreational drug use and eases you into that world with a harmless and fun experience. It's not some mystical evil magic potion that makes you crave heroin, but it does create a level of comfort with the idea of recreational drug use. ...which is totally fine and normal.
...But I was not that normal...
So, I spent my high school years waiting for one of my friends to show up at a party with a line of coke, or a bag of mushrooms... Did I mention that we were in the gifted class and ran both the film club and the whistling club?
|fake whistling club photo circa 2003. The coolest kids in school, obviously...sigh.|
...yea. Ain't nobody showing up with no coke unless it's in a can and has a sippy straw...
I had begun to build a scaffolding of rules & regulations about drug use. Something that set me apart from everyone else. It shaped how I behaved at parties, what I took part in, what I didn't, and undoubtedly what other people thought of me.
|Yes, apparently I am Jesus. Who knew?|
Having always been picked on, this gave me a buffer, or safety zone, to develop my own ideas and boundaries...if you want to get all poetic n' shit, it was helping me build myself up into who I was going to be when I was all grow'd up. A scaffold can help even the most fragile structures grow into tall buildings...and at that point in my life, I needed that.
As high school gave way to university the opportunity to do harder drugs was always around but no one ever showed up to a house party with LSD and shouted out "HEY GUYSE! WHO WANTSH TO SHARE WISH MEEEE?" No, you need to make arrangements, you need to plan. You've gotta have a plan.
But planning where and when you are going to buy/consume magic mushrooms feels weird and poser-y when you've never even smoked a joint... So I didn't do it.
|Hey guyse! I'm still cool, right?|
The years kept going. Suddenly I'm in my mid, no, late twenties and my lack of drug use has become and oddity, a weird anecdote at parties... "How did it start?" "um, well, see gateway drugs are stupid and-" "Are you, like, Christian or something?"
It started to feel like to give in on a (truly stupid) idea that had shaped my behaviour for so long without actually accomplishing the original goal would be a tragic and pathetic failure. But even the opportunities to try drugs were becoming rarer and rarer...My friends had already moved beyond experimenting, and were now boring like me...
That scaffolding was becoming a hindrance...
Things had progressed to a point where I had inadvertently gotten high anyways, and that scaffolding hung like a prison around me...
Well, I had some friends up at the cottage. We had a bonfire. There was a gorgeous sunset. We could see fireworks going off up and down the lake... My brain had a little conversation with itself:
"Hey so... I'm pretty sure someone here has weed..."
"Well...I think it's time...don't you?"
"...but what about the whole decision we made when we were 9...?"
"Dude...we also wore big plastic raver pacifiers when we were 9, I don't we should be held to the choices of a kid whose favourite show was 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' "
"...well, you make a good point, but we were both thinking this bonfire could use a submission to the Midnight Society..."
"Heh, yea. ...So, you wanna?"
"...yea. I do."
I turned to my friends and husband to announce my momentous decision...
...But they were dancing and singing this on the beach:
I love my crazy friends.
If you're going to peer pressure someone, make sure they've already chosen to do it, AND make sure it has a healthy dose of Mr. Show.
So, I smoked weed. Coughed horribly, secretly threw up, watched for falling stars, and made good on my time at Space Camp by pointing out constellations to everyone.
|this one time at space camp...!|
Did anything change? Well, I'm a more well-rounded person who isn't tied to the choices of a weird little kid...and the ground looked like I was on a treadmill...but ultimately, no. I am who I was, and I was made into who I am by the sum of my past experiences...even the stupid choices made by a 9 year old kid in a dinosaur tshirt.
|Haha, I affected your twenties!|
...And I wouldn't change a single one.
I will forever see the hated milk machine as a big joint...thanks guys.