Chin up, kiddo

So, I’m going to tell you a kind of weird story. I don’t tell this story very often because it makes me feel vulnerable and a little crazy, to be honest. I hinted at telling this story here, so I guess it’s time to pay up.

When I was 21 I went to Las Vegas to visit a friend who was living out there. She, her boyfriend (an ex of mine – very 90210), and I went out one night. We started off with dinner, where I had a beer. Then we headed to a bar to see a VERY convincing Prince impersonator where I ordered a gin and tonic. I took a sip, set it down to dance (rookie mistake), came back, took another sip, headed out to the dance floor and started to black out almost immediately. A bit odd considering I had a full stomach and hadn’t had much to drink. All I remember is being encircled by three or four guys who were pawing at me. Then I remember my friend’s boyfriend tossing these guys, grabbing me fireman style, and leaving the bar. I then, vaguely, remember a Taco Bell run before coming to on his bathroom floor, where I’d been placed face-down in case I threw up.

When I did come to, the room was flooded in white light. I tried to push myself up and couldn’t move. (That’s what roofies do to you – make it impossible to move.) Suddenly I felt this weight on my body, like something was pushing me down from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet, and this completely asexual voice said, “Just relax. You’re going to die now.” “Bullshit!” I thought as I tried again, harder, to get up. Again, the weight and the voice, but with more persistence. “NO. Relax. You’re going to die now.” I could feel myself relax and succumb while thinking, “My parent’s are going to be so bummed.” In that moment, I really thought death was imminent.

When I awoke the next morning, the bathroom was dark. I could barely move that day. It was a feeling unlike any hangover I’d ever experienced. I realized that I’d lost my camera and my purse. A camera that contained the last pictures taken of my sister before she left the country for six months and a purse that contained the ID I’d need to get on a plane the next day.

I scoured my friend’s car looking for these items several times that day. At one point, it all hit me – everything that had transpired in the month leading up to that moment. My sister had left the country and we were all worried for her safety as she traveled around third world countries, my best friend had just moved away, I’d found out my boyfriend of several years had spent the past several months cheating on me, I’d started a new job and a new school. Now, top it off with getting drugged, losing some important stuff, and what seemed like a near-death experience and I was at a serious low point.

“What do you want from me!?” I asked as I looked up. (A strange thing to do for an agnostic, no?) And then it hit me. I literally must have had a visible moment of clarity pass over my face. “I get it. This is all a test to see what I can handle. You know what? Bring it.”

It was in that moment, after that experience in Vegas, that I came to peace with the fact that life will throw some ridiculous crap at you sometimes and all you can do is find the lessons and get stronger. Or, as I like to say, learn how to wade through the shit to get to the good stuff. See, Vegas ain’t all bad!

My friend, her boyfriend, and I never talked about that night – never talked about what might have happened if he hadn’t been there to get me out of a bad situation. I never thanked him for looking out for me like that. I hope I get the opportunity to do so some day.

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