Four days post surgery I made the all to familiar drive from Westwood to Malibu. It’s pretty bizarre how your life can flip entirely in a matter of days. In those few weeks and years to come I became much wiser than my years, and learned lessons most don’t until much later in life. But those are tales of posts yet to come. The only thing that was on my mind by this point was I had survived, I was free from the obligations of volleyball from a few weeks, and I had a best friend who was over 21. I did the only thing any mature 18 year old would. I partied my ass off.
It didn’t hurt that I was friends with the men’s water polo team, which as any collegiately savvy person knows is the epitome of Animal House come to life, second – of course – to frats. As luck would have it, the guys were throwing the first annual Labor Day White party. I believe the tradition carries on to present day. At least I was still getting facebook invites after I’d graduated, but I digress.
Throw about sixty athletes whom to don’t have practice the next day in with a couple boxes of Franzia, bottles of Finlandia, and a slip-and-slide into a mud pit, and you have Labor Day 2004.
Ah yes, the mud pit. (Mom, you might want to skip over this part). My surgeon made a fatal error in telling me “you can’t hurt the wound,” which at this time consisted of steri strips and black thread that made me look like the Bride of Frankenstein. To me this squarely translated into “go do whatever the hell you want.” So when people started slippin’ and sliding into the cellophane wrapped rocky terrain we called the mud pit I thought, “Hell yea!” Surgery had given me one hell of a bikini body, the alcohol gave me the courage to shed to my suit, and simple life high (or stupidity…jury is still out on that one) gave me edge to dive. The bandages and still healing wound were doused in Escondido (name of the house) goodness.
Every night for the following week I was out at some party or bar, with my trusty girlfriends in tow. Back then I called it a celebration or liberation from looking death in the eye and getting away with it. However, in retrospect, I think it was my own attempt at repression, a psychology theory meaning that when traumatic events occur the human mind blocks out the memories. I was repressing the trauma and celebrating life all at once, and to me that worked just fine.