Originally published in "Human Parts"
Oh wow, do I recognize my younger self in this. Thank god there's that moment (for some of us, by some luck) when you figure out, hey, actually, hating myself isn't actually bringing in the goods. Life is so much more fun after that realization.
Also, yeah, we really need to kill binge drinking culture as a thing.
Thank you so much for this lovely, ultra-relatable piece.
This was so relatable! I have always wanted to seem fun and happy when with others but ultimately had this dark self hatred within. I have been reading Acceptance and Commitment Behavior for Dummies and it challenges “The Healthy Normality Assumption” that says humans are generally psychologically positive and happy. When in reality, feeling uncertain or anxious is much more common. Feeling happy or positive is the exception rather than the rule. Thank you for sharing your dark moments so that we can relate ours to yours!
"I truly think I'm happiest when I'm dancing alone." I realized recently that there are few moments in my day when I'm truly in the present and being mindful of what's in front of me and knowing its good just because it IS - and dancing by myself in the kitchen while I cook dinner for my family is consistently one of those moments. But only as long as no one's watching. 😉 Thank you for sharing this. I think the feelings your comic illustrates don't only exist in college culture. They're cropping up everywhere, thanks to social media and the need to be constantly connected and to show up authentically "perfect" even though we all know that's not possible. Will have to give "one sec" a look. Sounds intriguing.
WOW. That's one of the best things I've read in awhile.
Thanks for sharing this: the snapshot of your life, so openly told. And the gift of words, pictures, story. I'm grateful to have experienced it.
Super stoked you made it through the rough patches and you're still around to share your awesome stories with us, like this one!
This was such a powerful story! Echoing the previous comments, it felt very relatable. My college experience was similar - the drinking in excess, seeking external validation, and disliking myself. I'd find myself by the ocean often too, teetering on the precipice of dark moments. Thank you so much for being brave and vulnerable sharing your experience. The more we talk about it, the more normalized it can be for others to share their stories too.
Echoing a few other responses, the first word that comes to mind is "wow." Thank you for this vulnerable and important storytelling. I experienced a kind of catharsis in reading it, as I too spent my first quarter of college in Isla Vista while attending UCSB. I can relate right down to the drunken nachos at Freebirds. I never physically jumped in the ocean, but I felt like I was drowning the whole time. I transferred schools, which it turned out (surprise!) was not the solution to the darkness. After years more of giving myself away over and over again to the booze, the boys, and the self-loathing--endlessly searching for the light outside myself--I eventually found it within. I turned toward myself with the kind of loving attention that I had been longing for my whole life, and it changed everything. My heart breaks for those going through the darkness now. I hope this reaches them.
Thank you, Hilary. I love your drawings, imagery, and words. So much of our culture is so infuriating and harmful. I'll be sharing this - it's brave and wise and important. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing this road down college memory lane... I’m sure so so many girls can relate!
Oh I feel very seen in this. My college experience was very similar. This is very brave and good
Thank you for sharing!