Have you ever had a hangover?
Okay. I know most folks around me would probably wince and utter words like, “Girl, you bad!”
Hey, I make it no secret that I consider the noise on the interwebs about being “authentic” and “keeping it real” in our lives, work, and relationships farce. I for one am not a shadow of myself.
As a young girl I liked alcohol a great deal! My interest actually grew with age. Mother always made us drink herbs – plenty of it! Like most African women, she wanted us to grow strong and thick. She preferred herbs made from alcohol to the ones made of water or carbonated water because she thought they were more potent. So I’d say I started drinking as early as age four (…or even earlier). I collected the herbs with love in my heart…for alcohol; nobody ever noticed. I always had the can’t hurt a fly look. I really couldn’t (or could I?). Mother always patted me in the back when I drained my cup before my brothers ever would, she probably thought I had a thing for herbs but that was just by the way, the major thing was the sizzling taste of alcohol.
My parents were never alcoholics; mother only drank occasionally (just to calm her nerves: in case you’re wondering). She was okay with one or two bottles of Stout when she did.
Stout was too bitter. I didn’t like it one bit. I stayed with the herbs.
One day someone gave mother a bottle of fine Punch! It was imported. She cherished it so much that I got curious. I went right behind her and had a sip; I fell in love straight away! Then I made it a duty to steal a glass or two every now and then. When she noticed the wine was reducing rapidly, she hid the bottle inside a sofa in the Daddy’s sitting room; that particular chair had a small opening, and father didn’t fix it for a while.
I guess it didn’t feel right to mother to accuse my twelve year old self (I suppose she suspected my father, but I never overheard them argue over the bottle of wine – see, I enjoyed eavesdropping too!) But I thought it was pretty obvious (I don’t think my father knew about the wine), and we were only three in the house. My brothers were off to their boarding school.
I remember one afternoon I returned from school and realised that the Punch had been moved from the dining table to an unknown location. I was mad! I turned the Daddy’s sitting room right-side-up until I found it; then I took my normal dose, returned it to its hiding place, and rearranged the whole room. It looked just as it was before the little interruption.
Before long, the wine was gone. Mother went hunting for it at big supermarkets and departmental stores. For a long time we were never found wanting.
Nobody suspected my seemingly undying love for liquor until my elder brother noticed I was taking plenty of dry gin in the name of treating gum sores. I was seventeen then. I remember he was at home for his inter-semester break and for some reason, he noticed. (Of course, I denied it!) I maintained that I was simply treating myself, he gave me the advice of my life that day and scared me with kidney infections and liver diseases (I never tasted gin since then). I just stuck to some wine and sweet alcoholic drinks.
I had to attend a send forth party that was organized for my ex-boyfriend and his colleagues (Then I was much older; twenty-six, or so). Like mother, I drank occasionally (no beers. I always liked them sweet). I drank even less because my faith never really supported alcohol – I mean – taking it isn’t a sin but I never wanted to give the wrong impression, but the creator had to understand at times right? I always took pride in the fact that I never got drunk. I never believed I could ever do.
Jude was more like the life of the party, he played around and danced with other girls while I just sat there, stiff (No, I wasn’t jealous…okay, maybe just a little. It was the first time I saw him play around or dance like that with anyone else. I guess he did that to show me just how much I was missing because I broke up with him).
“What would you like to drink?” the bartender asked me.
“A bottle of Malt will do, please.” I smiled back and hoped that it wasn’t stiff too.
“Give her Smirnoff!” Jude interrupted, and the bartender ran off without waiting to hear from me.
I felt a knot tighten in my stomach. Idiot! How dare him! He just added insult to my injury (In case you’re wondering, I didn’t just break up with him. I had a very good reason to. And he should have understood that I was hurting). Like seriously, I wanted to lash out at the bartender for not bringing what I asked but…I could just do with a can of Smirnoff.
With one can gone, then two, then three…my spirit lifted. I finally decided to dance with the dude who tried to have a chat with me.
I danced wild; without a care in the world. Even I wouldn’t believe that I wasn’t a professional dancer if I were meeting me for the first time. Why should I succumb my ex-boyfriend’s silly manipulation?
He quickly dismissed all his playmates and dance partners and came to mama. I didn’t flinch, all the hurt I felt had given way and I just kept digging it. Within minutes, I was wreathed in sweats. I removed my jacket; somewhere in my mind’s eye, I could see all the eyes on me (the jacket actually hid the beauty of my backless gown).
He immediately switched roles…from being the callous ex-boyfriend to the caring elder brother! He stayed glued to me like a little pet afraid to let go of it’s owner for fear of going astray, and made sure nobody else danced with me (Nobody but him).
That night I couldn’t sleep; my mind was clear but fussy. I stayed awake and helped watch the white ceiling till daybreak. I thought that was the end, until the hangover (the worst headache one can have).
Okay, that’s my story with alcohol. That was the last time I ever experienced hangover. I’m grateful that it didn’t end on a sad note each time I remember it (I guess I’ll forever be). Many things could have gone wrong that night, and my eyes would probably brim over when I share the story. That was how I learned never to be too sure of myself.
Confidence is good for you, and for whatever you do, but it helps to remember that with every goal, with every plan, and with all of our dreams and aspirations there are loose ends. There are many other things from the things you do outside your work that can clog your productivity.