Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hot Tub Time Machine (August 6, 2010)

I must be the only person in the world that cried at the end of Hot Tub Time Machine. I sat there with my husband and friend laughing at me in an understanding way as I poured out my feelings of bewilderment and regret. How was I sitting on my sofa 2 days past my 34th birthday, having recently survived 2 strokes, with 4 pancreatitis hospitalizations and a debilitating virus under my belt, and a mysterious neurological condition still plaguing my present (Fibromyalgia)? I flashed back to my own high-school and college years and marveled at the road I have traveled. Through the result of a wild and unstable upbringing, this intelligent and under-challenged joven began self-medicating at the crest of puberty, only slowing down after my first near-death experience at age 28. I was a wild and daring child, always pushing the envelope of acceptable. I put my parents through hell and strove to define myself in the extremes during my teenage years. I was on alcohol and drugs, dating much older guys and breaking curfew and sneaking out. Oh I was willfully disobedient. How they still love me is only by the grace of God, that unconditional-love parent thing or something. Thankfully my family had the foresight to encourage a trip to Europe the summer between my junior and senior years of high-school, a trip that saved my life. It gave me exposure to the world, different languages, cultures, ways of living, perceptions, experiences...a whole different future. I went home with a stick up my ass, thumbing my nose at my friends running around middle-class suburbia in their cigarette-smoke steeped flannel shirts, getting high at their Nirvana grunge kegger parties. I thought I was so beyond them. I was worldly now, I had tasted it and wanted more.

I entered my senior year of high school actually wanting to know some people at my 10-year reunion and stepped a bit away from my wayward party friends, becoming the photo editor of the yearbook and hanging out with kids my own age. I went to Senior Ball and did all those quintessential high-school things memories are made of. I found my way to college and by then had stepped off the drug train, but indulged in alcohol and weed to a severe excess (it was college, after all). This continued on until pancreatitis caught my attention. Since then it has been a constant battle to allow myself to feel and survive the emotions without rushing to dull the pain, the sheer pain of what simply feeling means to me.

So as I watched this group of jack-ass guys, miserable 20 years after youth had launched, bumbling around back in time like moronic teenagers, seeing how much what was becomes what is, I became overwhelmed with feelings of regret and remorse. Have I done this to myself? Did I cause all of these serious health problems during my youth of excess that are now manifesting themselves on my still very young body? If so, knowing what I know now, would I have done it any different? So as the tears sprung I poured out my heart. I know the one right thing I have done in my life was marry my husband, and that relationship was born of this youth I want so badly to regret, to blame. As I settled down I concluded that no, most likely I would not have done one damn thing different. Youth is dumb, pain is real, and all I can do now is pray that by the grace of God I can find that path I was created to follow, step on and go for that ride.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah,
    This blog entry really spoke to me. I have often questioned if I did this to myself, and even though there is no real answer, I find myself racked with guilt. I think we need to forgive ourselves for abusing our bodies, and remember that many things would have happened no matter what we did or did not do to prevent them. In any case, this is my life now, where feeling pain is unavoidable on every level. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Leah,
    I did some partying between 15-18, very heavy drinking and some pot smoking, but I think that a lot of kids do that, and your cells are healthiest then, and reproducing themselves efficiently and quickly. Fibro is thought to be mostly genetic-my aunt has it, too. Scarily, my daughter is showing signs of it and she is only 7. Her neck and shoulders always hurt her. I pray to God that this isn't the case. Please don't carry this guilt around, you already have a heavy load.
    Scientist are also finding a link to childhood abuse and Fibro, because the caps at the ends of the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cells,are frayed more quickly with people who have been abused as kids, and with Fibro. Makes sense, because this is how we get our energy, and that would explain the fatigue.Maybe it is the stress of the abuse, I'm not sure, but let's hope research continues and will unravel this mysterious syndrome that has taken our lives over.Try to leave the past in the past; there's nothing you can do to change it now. Today is a present, live it to it's fullest, even if only for an hour.