Monday, January 16, 2012

Confessions of a Former Bad Girl

When I was younger I may or may not have been a bit of a rebel. A bad girl. Whatever you want to call it, I fancied myself a bit of a badass. 
I had the black hair, the lip ring, the worn out Vandals T-Shirt I bought at Buffalo Exchange like all the trendy kids do, and I had this one pair of ripped up jeans that had a series of safety pins holding them closed instead of a button and a zipper.
I talked like a punk ass with street cred who occasionally dabbled in gangster rap, and I pretty much had a 'fuck you' attitude about authority altogether.
Even though I would never admit it at the time, and I cringed when I heard people put it this way, I did like bad boys and I had a pension for guys with slow mischievous grins who would buy me booze and treat me poorly.
I used to be wild, and reckless and obnoxious to the point that the people who knew me then, can't really believe I live the life I have now.
I have two kids, I drive a minivan, I work an 8-5 job in a corporate office, and I have business suits in my closet-that I actually wear!
My life is vastly different.  Around the time I had Jack I stopped dying my hair black, I took the lip ring out, I bought a few shirts in colors other than black and that didn't have band logos on every one, and I started thinking about relationships with grown men who would be good to me. I wanted to be treated like a lady....well, more than that I wanted to be someone that a guy would consider a lady. A classy one, too.
For a long time after I "cleaned up and settled down" I boasted smugly to myself that I never stay out all night drinking anymore, I don't blow through two packs of cigarettes in a day and I have a vocabulary that spans far beyond using Fuck as a verb, noun or adjective in nearly every sentence. I was proud of myself for growing up so much. 
And then, a while back I got a little derailed.
I reconnected with some old friends from high school after my relationship with Bill fell apart over the Summer, and I started thinking that I wanted to act a little closer to my age again, at least on the nights when I didn't have my kids and I felt I could afford to have a little more fun. I became Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Party Animal. During the week I was responsible, I took care of my kids and I did my job, but the word fuck started creeping back up to it's old usage count and I was developing a bit of an attitude again. On Friday nights when I didn't have my kids, I acted like I did when I was 18 all over again. Sitting for hours on apartment balconies with people the same age as me, but who had completely different lifestyles. People with no kids, no serious relationships, most of whom worked at convenience stores, call centers or fast food joints if they worked at all. I drank too much and talked really loud and drunk dialed people at 2 in the morning like a giggling teenager.
And I started to see the divide forming.
This line between the life I had begun to cultivate for myself and my kids. The life where we had dinners with 3 different food groups that I cooked myself, where I acted like a mom even when my kids weren't around, where I spent my free time in the arms of a grown up guy who lived a life similar to mine. A life where I was responsible and reliable and honest and stable. There was a divide between that, and this former life, this history I could have so easily slipped back into where tattoos and hair dye and free drinks at bars from sleazy guys who couldn't remember my name five minutes after I told it to them, were all that mattered. A life where Lainie's teachers looked at me like I was "the young mom" at her school, in a bad way. The young mom who still acted 19 instead of being the mom who was such a good mom despite being only 16 years older than my child. 
I remember the night that I felt like I had to make a choice.
It was the night I went to Zombie Prom with one of my friends at a bar in south Scottsdale. {zombie prom is essentially a night in October where people dress up like rock-a-billy prom goers who have been turned into zombies, listen to music and get smashed}. I ended up drinking too much, and experiencing that awful feeling of being too drunk too fast and having no idea what was going on. 
And then I realized I couldn't find my friend.
The bar was crowded, we'd taken a cab, I had her wallet and couldn't leave without giving it to her or she'd have no ride home, but I was wasted, I was tired, this creepy guy kept hitting on me and I couldn't find her anywhere. 
In teary eyed desperation I called Bill at 1 in the morning. I sat in the parking lot crying and telling him how sorry I was for acting like such a child lately. I told him that this wasn't my life, I wasn't this person anymore and I wanted to go home. I didn't want to be out bar hopping with my single friends, I wanted to be at home watching a movie and cuddling on the couch with him. Going out for girls night is one thing, but going out to sleazy dive bars with all single people who want to meet guys and get hit on, is another. I had no reason to be there and in my drunken moment of foggy clarity I could see this path I was on and how it would inevitably drive Bill away. The one person I truly loved more than anything. And how it could potentially screw up everything I had started to build with my kids. 
Don't get me wrong, single mommies who have one night off a week where their kids go to their grandma's house or their uncle's house, have every right to relax and have fun, but I had no business being drunk and lost and alone in a bar with no way to get home and no idea where I was.
Bill calmly listened to me and told me over and over that he loved me, and that understood what I was going through, and he stayed on the phone with me until I sobered up and found my friend. 

Over that tumultuous summer I felt like I was being torn between two worlds, between two possible versions of myself. And at first the bad girl rebel world looked so very appealing and fun. But I realized that night sitting on the ground in my prom dress with fake blood all over my face, that it had been fun while it lasted, when I lived it at the appropriate time in my life: when I was 18. But I had two kids, and an amazing boyfriend, and a very exciting future full of so much love and contentment and happiness, that the bad girl thing just wasn't so appealing anymore. I didn't want to wake up hungover on my friend's couch. I wanted to wake up in my bed beside my 3 year old son who wakes up giggling every morning, or in the arms of the man who loves me and supports me, and patiently waits for me to figure out my path, even if it means letting me make mistakes that are hard to watch.

I used to be a bad girl, because I didn't know yet where I belonged or what I wanted for my life, so I bounced around trying it all and having as much fun as possible.
But now I know what I want, and where I belong, and where I stand with the important people in my life.
And I would rather have one more day with these kids and this man, than another 40 years of careless irresponsible freedom.


  1. I enjoy your blog so much Sarah. Specially your honesty.


  2. Thank you! That's a very kind thing to say. :)