In the Flesh?

“So you thought you might like to go to the show. To feel the warm thrill of confusion that space cadet glow. I have some bad news for you Sunshine. Pink isn’t well, he’s back at the hotel and they sent us along as a surrogate band….”

As my freshman year of college ended and I attended my summer internship, most of my friends went home for the summer. I moved to Porter Quad.

My friend Jim stayed and he lived off campus. Another friend of ours that worked with Jim at Governor’s Food Service and lived over there too, Jon, also stayed for the summer.

My days were spent at class or at my internship at the EOC library downtown. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I hated having to take the bus to the Main Street Campus in the morning so I could ride the train downtown. I hated cataloging all the file cabinets at EOC. This was before internet searches, when people actually used file cabinets to get information. And their cabinets hadn’t been catalogued in years. It was tedious work and I hated it.

I hated getting hit on by the Black boys in downtown Buffalo. They confused me and scared me.

It was a weird time for me because I was inside myself but outside myself at the same time. I had separated myself from my actions so that I really couldn’t feel anything.

The only person that I knew there at the time my friend Jim. The person that my unrequited infatuation of caused me to want to take my own life was the only one of my friends still around. I had to detach. I still liked him. And he still liked other girls. His ideal was something I could never be. Yet we were great friends. The best of friends. We actually spent a majority of our downtime together. So it was weird.

And I had met Jon. Who at the time was a mere background person in my life. Someone I mention sporadically in my journals back then.

I got into a car accident with him and his roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend one night. I’m surprised we survived. We actually even walked away but the car was totaled. I think I had a concussion because I don’t remember the accident at all but was sore for days.

Nights were spent going out to a bar Main Street called PJ Bottoms. Once I had gotten my fake id during second semester freshman year, this was the hang out. It is the closest bar to Main Street Campus bus stop. We’d stay out until 4am and the walk to Pinzones or Mikes Big Mouth for food. Normally we’d all get high and crash at Jim’s house on Winspear.

So this was the summer. And even though I hated the work, I had a great internship. One of those things I wish I could go back and tell my young mind to cherish. A paid internship that provides room and board and you get to take classes for free over the summer?

Unbelievable to me sometimes how much opportunity that I had placed in front of me. I won’t say I took it for granted because I did well in my classes and at my internship. I graduated from UB in four years and even took a very light load my senior year because I had excessive credits because of my internships. But I was so unhappy. I was so wrapped up in trying to achieve an unachievable goal- to be attractive to white boys.

It all sounds so silly. But I understand the young me. It’s how we are socialized as women. We are not taught that strength and independence are something to be sought and revered. They are a standby. A plan B. In case plan A- catching a husband – doesn’t work out.

It’s imbedded in every image around us and was even more so when I was younger than now. So I’m not angry at young Sara for being so desperate to try to capture someone’s heart. And I know I wasn’t just seeking out anyone. In the true fashion of someone self loathing, I would seek out those who were unobtainable and often those who were self destructive.

One of these boys would enter my life early sophomore year and I would watch outside myself as I would ride a whirlwind of darkness and desperation with him right to a brief stay in the psych ward.

“…. Were gonna find out where you fans really stand….”


About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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