If there’s one thing my mother taught me, it’s how to make it on my own. She taught me how to cook, how to clean, how to get others to see me as “put together”–basically, she taught me how to survive on my own. Then I went to college and threw all that shit out the window of my twelfth floor dorm room. It was all giggles and rainbows and butterflies for four years. I didn’t have a care in the world except figuring out how I was going to actually study in the midst of all my drinking.
Then, I graduated and I realized all that “shit” I threw out the window freshman year I’m an adult now, and I need it.
Once upon a time, I knew how to cook. My mom taught me the ropes in the kitchen and my grandpa made me a young padawan on the grill. Then I ventured to the land of Kraft Easy Mac and personal pan pizzas. My idea of a meal was having enough leftovers in my fridge to actually see more than one color on my plate. I went through a period of starvation when, jobless, I moved off campus and thought, after what I can only assume was in a drunken stupor, “I don’t need meal plans now!” I had never been more wrong. As it turns out, skills in the kitchen are similar to skills in the bedroom: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Now the house special is my kick-ass grilled cheese sandwich or the chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza that I learned to make after drunk eating it at my favorite college bar for four years.
LOL, you mean throwing all my dirty clothes and underwear under my bed or in my closet as I stumble through the door with whoever I picked up at the bar that night? I think the only time I ever actually cleaned soberly was when my parents planned to come over–so basically every summer when I moved. I went from having a huge, spotless room at home to a hole in the wall where I lived in my own filth and dry shampoo residue. Washing dishes? You mean rinsing out to-go cups? Ironing my clothes? Nah, just throw them back in the dryer 18 times and I’ll complain about my electric bill later. If you even owned a vacuum in college, people looked at you like you just discovered fire. I tried to actually iron clothes last week. I burned my thumb. Ironing in like riding a bicycle: you think you’ll never forget, you do it for the first time in years, you think you’re awesome, and then you crash and burn.
One thing my mother prided herself on the most was dressing me like a young lady as a child and instilling that sense of decorum in me. I dressed well in high school, like a young, not-so-uptight, Republican Hillary. I even played tennis, which is basically the female equivalent to golf, at least attire-wise. Then I went to college, where I learned the most important lesson freshman year has to teach you: 8 a.m. in college is not the same as 8 a.m. in high school. So began my wardrobe’s demise into oversized shack shirts and Norts, leggings, long sleeves, and flip flops. Not so surprisingly, you can’t wear these items in the real, adult world, which kind of sucks because I’ve invested a lot in Nike the past four years. Showering before a morning class? You’re lucky if I don’t still reek of the booze I ingested last night. I learned the art of throwing my hair in a bun on top of my head because it meant I didn’t have to spend 20 minutes drying and straightening my hair when I could get some extra sleep. Guess what? In the real world, I have to begrudgingly spend those 20 minutes drying and straightening my hair because the wad of hair on top of your head style isn’t “professional looking.”
I don’t know if college spoiled me–but I think it instilled in me a deep sense of laziness that has handicapped me to living an actual life.