Everything Must Be This Way

I don’t really know how much deep revelation happened over the next couple years of my life at UB.  I had settled into a routine of being able to balance my classes and my studying and my partying.  I had stayed up in Buffalo for two summers now, so I had grown closer to my friends who had also stayed up here.  The summer between my sophomore and junior year was no exception.

But even before the summer started, I had switched my obsession from Erv to my good friend Jon.  Now it seems almost strange that I even started liking Jon.  Not really, but kinda.  He was always a really, super nice guy.  He was always a good friend to hang out with, but I don’t remember being attracted to him or thinking of him in any kind of way.  I think somewhere in my mind, I felt I needed to stop focusing and obsession on boys who would drive me to the brink and I would end up not being able to cope with the inevitable and obvious rejection.

It was a cycle of fulfilling my feelings of that I was worthless and unwanted.

With Jon, it was different.  He would be an obsession that would be too nice to really hurt me.  He’d never be the one to abandon me.  I didn’t know that then, but something instinctively made me feel that way and so I threw my attention in his direction.  He really was a good friend to me at this time.

Jon, like Erv, was white with brown hair and dark eyes.  At that time in my life, I still only liked white boys. Jon was Jewish, too.  Which was something my mother did not like.  Remember, her grandfather joined the KKK to fight against the Jews?  (whatever that meant).  So I knew that there was an anti-Semitic feeling in my family.  Plus my mom had said that Jewish people were stingy.   What difference did that make, I thought?  I liked to spend money, so I would spend mine.  Stingy people didn’t bother me.  Not that I think Jon was stingy.  I just didn’t care.

We had hooked up one late night after I had come back from the bars and just wanted somewhere to hang.  So my Catholic upbringing made it convenient for me to feel obligated to feel some sort of emotion outside of friendship for him.  And we liked spending time together, so why not spend all our time together.

And really from that point forward, we did spend a majority of our time together.

But he was sometimes dating other girls and I would get jealous and make it my point to break them up.  I definitely had an unhealthy feeling of proprietorship over his time and friendship.  I didn’t care if he or those other girls got hurt.  He was supposed to hang out with me and only me.

So this was the framework for entering the summer, my growing obsession with Jon, growing friendships with friends that had been around for the past two years and my feeling of really living outside myself, watching my life, rather than fully engaging.

When I think about how I felt at that time, I think that this feeling of being outside myself allowed me to do anything I wanted to do without consequence.  I don’t think this is a safe frame of mind for anyone.

Feeling that way made me selfish and self centered.  I didn’t care about anyone else or how they felt.  Everything i did was to please myself.

I ran up huge credit card debts and bought anything I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I worked two jobs, so I could pay them off and when they got too out of control, I would take out a student loan and pay them off.  Consequently, I would get increased credit limits and I could buy more stuff.

Nothing fills up a temporary hole like retail therapy.  So I filled up my closest with a bunch of stuff.  I spent money on anything I wanted.  And I thought I was so happy with all my stuff.  Gucci watches.  Ralph Lauren towels.  Leather Jackets. Gold chains.  Concerts tickets.  Fancy dinners.  I would take hundreds of dollars a day out in cash advances just to have money.  And since I took the bus through downtown Buffalo every day, I would have lots of opportunity to buy anything I wanted.  This was when downtown Buffalo still had stores.  AM&A’s was there, the Main Place Mall was filled with stores and even had center kiosks, LL Berger’s was still there.  Everything closed shortly thereafter and downtown became a kind of ghost town, but back then, there were plenty of places to spend money.

My friend Jim stayed off campus that summer with his roommate Dave and some girls from the Fresh Fourth.  And they had the hamster Kameron that was named after the character from Ferris Bueller.

Anyway, Jim’s house for the summer (and the next school year) was the party house.  This was where we all gathered the night before the Grateful Dead concert.  My first Grateful Dead show.  It would be the first of many – both parties and Grateful Dead shows

This summer there was a shortage of weed too, but there was plenty of acid going around.  So everyone spent the entire summer tripping.  It was like a huge love fest sometimes.

Between Jon and the Grateful Dead, I suddenly had my perfect escape from ever having to return to my life in Rushford ever again.

I had shut everything else out.  I was free and my mind was free from guilt.

Everything must be this way.


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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