When I came to campus Monday evening, the air was kissed with privileged raindrops and I immediately felt less than. Less than my courteous guide, who kindly gave me a tour of Lampoon, less than the 18-22 year old kids who ruined priceless works of art in the castle in the name of humor (which was admittedly very funny), less than the students running in the mist and less than the bricks I walked upon. I often feel less than. It’s part of my genetic make up, and part of the reason I used and abused alcohol, drugs, my body and other people. If I use, feeling less than diminishes, and liquid courage runs strong. I am wonderwoman. I am invincible. I am…. Not less than.
I stayed in Quincy House, right on campus, in a friends dorm room. Monday night I felt distant. Apart. Like I didn’t belong. As if I’d some how fooled these people into thinking perhaps I have a valuable opinion on something they otherwise can’t understand. I reached out to my two favorite boys… First the boyfriend, Mr Man, and then Deezy, my recovering genius.
Me: I feel less than…
Mr Man: Babe that’s silly. Those kids are not better than you or anyone else. Just go to bed you little lovey duck bucket.
Me: yeaaaahhhh… I guess.
Me: I feel less than.
Deez: I get it. I totally get it. I feel less than all the time. What feelings are coming up?
Me: Maybe if I gave a fuck I could have been a stupid Harvard kid. Maybe if I gave a fuck I’d already be done with this whole education thing and not starting over like a jerk.
Deez: yeah. But you didn’t give a fuck. You do now. I think that’s what matters…
Me: stupid Deez.
I lectured at the Womens Center to a group of 50-60 kids. I talked about my experience in adult, about the consequences you face as a performer (although the majority of those consequences don’t appear until you quit), I talked about the role drugs played in my life nearly a year ago and how I financed my future for sexual validation. I talked about showing the world I’m something more than a cock hungry sex star. I talked about believing in myself enough to make hard decisions, and look at difficult days in the best light possible. I talked about then and now. And yet….
Earlier in the day, pre-lecture, I sat at Darwin cafe with a Jansport backpack and a few books. I flipped though the pages and underlined sentences. I scribbled things in my notebook and pulled my hair. I did everything I could to appear as a stressed out college student, pounding Americanos like it was my job. Later, after my Harvard Impersonation stunt, I told the story to a professor friend of mine.
Prof: it’s kind of funny that you went though all the trouble of pretending to be a student instead of just being what you actually are, which is an intelligent woman who has been hired to give a lecture to Harvard students. Don’t you think?
The irony isn’t in his statement- it’s in the fact that I came here to talk about a woman I used to portray because I was uncomfortable with the woman I was, and ended up sitting in a cafe pretending to be a woman I’m not because I wanted to feel more than I am.
But at the end of the night I remembered I like who I am, Harvard guest lecturer, future City College student and then UCLA student. I am a student of life, and even though I came here to speak to a room of intelligent young minds, I ended up learning an invaluable lesson. A lesson I learn every day and am constantly repeating in my head.
I am exactly where I need to be and positively who I am. And both of those things are just fine. And if I am not fine with them there is something I can do to change. Myself.
Feelings are not facts and emotions pass if we let them. These were good emotions to work through because they helped me decide where I’d like to go.
UCLA. Psychology. I already have a backpack.