My Story

I was born in a confusing yet magical time- the beginning of the Generation Y “Millennial” phase that carried us up to the mid-nineties. Before cell phones and social media corrupted our high schools, but after the boom of the internet and AOL. The era of endless possibilities for a little girl like me with hopes of being the first woman president, finding the cure for cancer, and saving the hungry- all before the age of 35.
There was one fatal flaw in this seemingly optimistic Millennial way of thinking- “perfectionism.” We believed that to achieve greatness, you had to be more than just being the best version of yourself- you had to be perfect. Perfectionism is the Achilles heel of the Millennial era because we don’t know how to fail. Unlike the “get back on the horse” mentality our previous generation proudly stood by, Millennials beat themselves down. It was the “gotta be the best” and “go big or go home” ideology.
I fell victim to this fatal flaw and it stopped me from even trying. If I knew I wouldn’t be the best, I wouldn’t attempt the challenge. The fear of failure took over- you can’t fail if you never try. I was never particularly great at anything. Oh, don’t cry for me Argentina. I was average. Average at everything- sports, grades, looks. Average at everything EXCEPT bartending- that I was great at.
Now when I say I was great at bartending, I don’t mean the flair and glam of throwing bottles seamlessly through the air and effortlessly catching them at a 45-degree angle over the cocktail glass. Oh no. I am no juggler my friend. I also don’t mean that I was the grand encyclopedia of mixology- naming off cocktails dating back from the 1920’s- definitely not. At this point you must be wondering- what else is there? Me. Just me. Bartending brought out this spark- a fireball of whit and magnetism that hit you in the face when I was behind the bar. I was fast, full of light, and had the “no nonsense” attitude that at my 5’4 stature was deemed as cute or even sexy. It was my element- my niche.
I used my 11 years of taking a single-course at a time through college as an excuse to continue bartending- claiming to be too busy for education because I was in the working-world earning a living. Now some people are meant for careers in this industry. They can balance the lifestyle and be successful. For me it was supposed to be a stepping stone, a tool to ignite me. It was meant to be my burner- sparking my confidence and propelling me into my future. If only I had gotten the memo.
After graduating college with a degree in Women’s Studies, I was stuck. Oh, I hear it now! “Of course the Millennial chose Women’s Studies.” Ah yes, your voices have been well heard over the last 11 years. But to all you naysayers who roll your eyes, my choice of degree is what directed me to my ability to help others as well as my love for culture and travel. Women Studies helped me get to India, Mexico, South Africa and Uganda. Now in saying that- I must admit that my choice of studies did not open many (any) doors for lucrative opportunities. There is a part of me that wants to kick my liberal 20-year-old self in the ass and say- why not bioengineering? But I digress.
Though the “golden handcuffs” of the industry kept me behind the bar. The worth of any Bachelor’s Degree is minimal in comparison to what it used to be. The threat of minimum wage and working my way up the greased chain kept me at bay. Besides as long as I succeeded in one element- I was still on top.
Until I wasn’t. The battle between uncertainty and self-worth came to a head when my alcoholism took the wheel. It is no secret that my profession is breeding grounds for substance abuse. I served the slaves of alcoholism on a daily basis. I judged them. I thought I was better than them because I still functioned- until I no longer managed to. It all gave way. My work ethic, my health and even my deviously famous spark noticeably fizzled out to smoke. I was haunted by stories of my “heyday” by everyone around me. There’s nothing worse than being told you aren’t as great as you used to be. Back to average again- but this time, I was 30.
That’s when life starts to hit you- actually it more like beats you to a pulp and leaves you for dead. At 21 I was a lead bartender at a local pub and in college with a long-term boyfriend. Things were looking good. At 30, I was an average bartender at a family pizza joint with a BA in Women’s Studies and no relationship to brag about with a notable alcohol problem to boot. I definitely did not find the cure for cancer or rid the world of hunger. Looking back now at that little girl with the hopes of endless possibilities- if that doesn’t burn you…
I am not saying that I completely wasted 10 years of my life but this is when I realized something had to give. I decided to unravel any dignity that I had left and admit to all my friends and family what they already knew- that I was an alcoholic. Ouch. I enrolled myself into a great rehab with the support (emotionally and financially) from my family and started picking up the pieces. I gained a little bit of that spark back while I was confined for 31 days. That light returned and I became the cheerleader of rehab. Yes, it’s the small wins in life that we hold on to.
So, you may be asking yourself- now what? Answer is- one day at a time. I want to make up for all those days I sat in my apartment getting drunk by myself. All those times I skipped out on a birthday party or bridal shower because I was too drunk to drive. All those dates I cancelled because of my paranoia revolving my alcoholism and lack of confidence when there wasn’t a bar to separate myself from the rest of the world. That 3-foot piece of lacquered wood. That safe-haven. That crutch.
Here I am- determined and ruthless. Ready to tackle the world. Looking for new cities, spontaneous adventures and keeping sanctity of my serenity. How does one tackle all this and win? I guess we will find out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *