Pudding Tears

It takes a lot of work to be me. A lot of caffeine, and if it were legal, I’d probably dabble in narcotics. I realized it today at work; when in the public eye of society, I can be unusually positive… almost optimistic to a fault. I can essentially be called ugly and will respond with, “But at least I’m alive!” It’s obnoxious, but it’s what people have come to expect out of me. That’s why every morning before I go to class or work, I drink a Monster energy drink and eat at least two Little Debbie cakes. The sugar delivers me to my audience in a way that they would want. I work for everyone in my life, and they’d be devastated to know the thoughts that circulate through my head as I wear a nearly creepy smile on my face. The thoughts are mean. Vindictive. Sometimes illegal. And the worse the thought, the bigger the smile, until I look nearly Asian because I’m smiling so hard that my eyes are squinted closed. Don’t thank me for my upbeat behavior. Thank the bottling company that makes Monster. Before I got out of the car this morning, I sang to my Monster… Let me give your heart a break, let me give your heart a break, there’s just so much you can take. And as I sang, I began to think about the semester that I drank so many Monsters that I was nearly confident that my heart would explode. That’s how I anticipate my death will happen: caffeine induced accidental suicide. I imagine that it will be in the next four months, but the closest I’ve gotten yet was sophomore year.

Sophomore spring semester was my Marissa semester.

Sophomore year of college was a rough time for everyone. I was trying to balance about seven different major life events at once, and in the midst of it, trying to be more and more personable with each passing day. I was juggling a life of about seventeen different student organizations, the aftermath of my parents’ recent marriage debacle, an unrequited love that could never be matched, keeping the biggest secret of my life, being an RA, 16 hours of class, pledging for a fraternity, and the dissolving of my close friend group. In response, I just kept drinking more and more energy drinks. I was doing fine for a while, but then I started to crack. My grades began slipping, and I eventually started to give up on everything. One of my favorite fall-outs was the day that I skipped all my classes to go to a private Ingrid Michaelson concert. I’m sure that sounds a lot less rebellious than I thought it was, but you don’t understand. She’s so complex and different, like me, so skipping class and meetings to see her was essentially the most badass thing that I could think of. When I was confronted by a staff member about skipping the entire day and what would later be referred to as my Dale Earnhardt semester (I was on top of my game, then I crashed hard in the turn), I responded, Okay. So? What are you going to do? Kick me out? Not my finest moment.
I could see myself deteriorating. I was spinning out of control, kind of like Marissa on The O.C. Actually, it’s pretty much exactly like season two Marissa. The pseudo-bisexual relationship, the dabbling in drugs, the complete dismissal of authority and everything that mattered in life. One could even say that the events at the end of the semester were somewhat similar to her shooting Trey. Nothing was making sense anymore; no one understood me, but I looked fantastic throughout the entire year. Marissa would have been proud, but I’m not sure anyone else was.

If you really need to deal with life, take a
cup of refrigerated Swiss Miss. Add chocolate
covered nuts to it. Eat it and cry baby. Cry all
you want. You deserve it.

I remember the day that it all came crashing down, or at least one of them. I like to refer to it as “The Pudding Disaster of 2010.” I was in the middle of my pledging process during Signature Week; it may be one of the most hellish things I’ve ever been through, because like most fraternities, it requires you to chase down your future brothers and do mostly pointless tasks for their approval. At the time, I was also running for Student Body President, regardless of my recent apathy for student organizations… actually, apathy for my life all together. I had just gotten the news that I had been elected, and I came back to campus from a fraternity meeting; it was super humid that day… one of those days that you can feel the moisture suffocating you, Othello style. Like most days during the week, I went into my boss, Aja’s, apartment and plopped down on the couch. Most of the time, I stared blankly at the television or took a nap… which in retrospect was probably inappropriate, but whatevs. But on this day, the air condition was out in her living room, so I sat there recently anointed successful college politician and DKE brother, and Aja appeared from her kitchen. You want a pudding? All I could do was nod my head.
I had spent most of the semester with a giant knot in my throat, hoping at some point, I could muster up enough saline to cry, but alas… it hadn’t happened. She handed me the pudding, and I put the first spoonful in my mouth and immediately looked up at her with tears in my eyes. All I could say is This pudding is so cold. And then I cried. And I kept crying. And I’m pretty sure I cried that night for almost two hours. The energy drinks and caffeine and everything else had ran out, and all I had left was pudding. In between heavy cries and crying hiccups, I would eat another cup of pudding until Aja ran out. I’m not sure what happened, but like most humans… it wasn’t my fault. I still maintain that theory, and I refuse to admit that maybe… just maybe… I had let myself get out of control.
Eventually, I replaced the energy drinks with cigarettes, and when people tell me how expensive they are or how they give you cancer, I’ve trained myself to smile and say I know, it’s a bad habit. But the reason that I puff, puff is because of the people in my life. Look at what they’ve done to me. They make me smoke a cigarette like an emphysema patient gasping for oxygen, which is kind of ironic because that’s kind of where I’m heading. But we all have our roles; I just happen to be the eternal optimist running on excessive amounts of B12 vitamin boosts and nicotine. And in private, I come out of the pudding closet and cry myself to death while watching the episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Denny dies. It doesn’t make me less of a man; it makes life a little more bearable, you know?

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