Back in college I was asked to write a piece about myself in my creative writing class. I titled it “the Game“. I didn’t quite know where to start, so I started from the beginning. I had a fortunate upbringing, took family vacations and my mom made my bed. And packed my lunch for school. So I wrote about that. I wrote about how that sheltered life shaped me. How college had changed me. I wrote about how the guy I met at the bar called me, the girl with bleach blonde highlights, exotic looking as I french inhaled a cigarette and ordered another miller light on tap in a frosted glass. I wrote about what an independent woman I had become. How I abandoned that sheltered lifestyle and grew into my own person. And how I hadn’t felt this liberated since my parents sent me to overnight camp in the sixth grade. I submitted the composition for critique in class. A girl raised her hand “It was good. But the character wasn’t likeable.” I thought, wasn’t likeable? We are talking about my life here. The character is me.
I’ve been out of college now for over five years and think about that essay. I believe I earned a B+ on the overall composition. I look back on my college days with fondness and nostalgia. Only I wasn’t independent. I thought I was, but the real world isn’t about that. I thought being away from my parents for four years was my independence. That drinking beers made me an adult. However, it was the challenges I faced after college that have changed me and given me my real independence. Today, I’m unlike that girl that I wrote about. But sometimes I miss her.
I have recently started watching Girls, which is a show on HBO. Hannah is twenty four years old and has just learned that her parents are cutting her off financially. She pulls all the stops to ask her parents to reconsider. I think she even tells them that she will be all right financially just as long as she doesn’t eat lunch. I think at one point in my life I had said the same thing to mine. Hannah says, “I’m the voice of my generation”. Hannah, get in line.
There was a time I was Hannah. Which is why I find her character so hysterical and relatable. Maybe at times even unlikeable. Today I don’t use my “buy now pay later” card. I drink wine when it’s accompanied by dinner, on occasion without. I don’t use alcohol as a social lubricant to talk to men. I rarely wear heals. I pay bills on time and have to make sacrifices when times are tough. The earrings I’ve been eying at Anthropologie will have to wait. I have failed more times than I like to admit. I don’t like to settle or blame others for my shortcomings. I think about the food I eat before I eat it. And I enjoy cooking. As long as the sacrifices are not my health, family, and my friendships with the people that I love I know that anything else thrown at me I can handle. A bottle of wine might need to be accompanied with, but nonetheless, I can handle it.
If you still don’t find my character likeable that’s okay. I hope we can be friends someday.