She sat by herself at the familiar coffee shop downtown, gazing out the window, sipping an iced caramel latte. Her favorite part was the drizzle of caramel that swirled over the top. The sun occasionally peaked through the clouds and made it’s way to her tattooed skin. Her dark, wavy hair, with tints of red, glistened in the light. She had an array of sticker-filled Apple products she couldn’t really afford spilled out on the table in front of her and a to-do list a mile long; but she couldn’t steal her gaze from the world outside. Nothing in particularly interesting was happening, but she found herself wondering about the passerby. Where were they going? Were they happy? Do you think they struggle with mental illness too? Are they stressed, worried, or anxious? Are they in love? Are they a genuine, kind person? A young lady passing by with a well-loved and curious mutt made her shyly smile. She sighed, thought of all the things that needed to be done, and checked her phone to see how much of the day had escaped her. 3:26pm. A text on the screen read, “I love you and hope you’re having a good day. What are you doing?” She was doing a million things and also nothing. She was restless and wanted to go. She didn’t know where she was going, but she was bound and determined to get there.
Sometime before she fully reached adulthood, she traded in her Dr. Pepper for a whiskey and Coke and sweet tea for a shot of whatever was being offered. She was lost in a whirlwind of emotions and the alcohol made her feel numb- a pleasant state of laughter and what she thought was happiness. The happiness later turned into numerous one night stands (well, sometimes she would go back to the same person), drunk driving, and breakdowns in bathrooms where she vomited and cried by the bathtub of a stranger. None of her questions about life were answered the way she wanted, so she drank more and more until she eventually did not know who she was. She went through the motions, either drunk, hungover, or trying to get through work until she could start the cycle all over again. The panic attacks were getting worse and more frequent, and she could say the same about her depression. The alcohol numbed these and the numerous boys made her feel wanted and beautiful. She felt whole. The problem was that when she woke at 4:36am, she was naked, dehydrated, had a migraine, and was next to someone that did not care about her deeper than what he saw- anxiety and negative emotions flooded her as she gathered her things, got in her car still a little drunk, and drove away.