It’s Tuesday and my esophagus is still somehow raw from the weekend’s activities. As I sip on warm, soothing chamomile, I open my email to find some pre-approved topics for the site. By pure coincidence, my editor has asked me to write an essay on “throw up girl,” that chick who can always be counted on to puke at the party.
“The problems of telling your own stories,” Gchats my friend, Haley, when I tell her today’s chance assignment. She was my roommate Freshman year and knows my stomach lining better than anyone else.
And thus, I feel somewhat conflicted in my approach to this article. On the one hand, it would be hypocritical of me to preach as if this hasn’t happened to me multi-billions of times. On the other, who better to write what it’s like to be Throw Up Girl than the all-grown-up version herself?
“I’ll run with it.” Challenge accepted.
How many nights would have been absolutely perfect had you not thrown up all over them? Or maybe, it’s more like, how many nights have been so absolutely perfect that they made you throw up? For voracious partiers like myself, the two practically go hand-in-hand.
I’ve left a piece of me in Barcelona, where a beautiful Catalan woman on a Vespa looked on in horror as I revealed the contents of the night before while stopped at a red light. In Trastevere, somewhere along the cobbled streets is a worn-out watering hole that housed an impressive 18 rounds of regurgitated fish bowls (it’s weird that I still occasionally brag about this).
And then in Paris, how could I forget (or is it more appropriate to write “remember”?) the time I upchucked still drunk and rushing on my way to mandatory 8 am French class, only to be kicked out for reeking of alcohol and lewdness. Not one of my finer moments, although I do feel somewhat proud of that particular accomplishment. How many people can say they handed in a puke-covered paper on French imperialism in a foreign language and still received an A?
For better or for worse, I’m pretty fearless when faced with hurling it all back up. I think deep down I always knew I’d be a light-weight when I threw up entirely from drinking too much water. Supposedly if you consume like, an entire gallon of H20, then you’ll experience the feeling of being drunk. My 14-year-old self at an all-girls summer camp naturally thought this was a fun idea. I’ve yet to live down the nerdiness of the whole thing.
But here is where I stop romanticizing my vomit. It’s not glamorous. It’s not cute. And it’s anything but healthy. In fact, it’s ruined a lot more than just the interior of my intestines.
It’s the quickest way to wreck a lively birthday party (or a string of them, as was my 19th, 20th and, not to be outdone, obviously my 21st). It’s totally unattractive (just ask any of my scarred ex-suitors). And, most concerning, it can easily become very dangerous.
I’ve had my fair share of nightmares and mortifying situations. The instances when the drunken debauchery takes a turn for the worse and the puking isn’t laughable, it’s plain scary. When it’s a sign of taking it too far and not of having too good of a time.
These aren’t moments I’m proud of. These aren’t the stories I want to boast about on the Internet. These are the nights (or sometimes, yes, days) that you wish you were recalling for different reasons.
You don’t want to be that girl that you literally can’t take anywhere -- whose behaviors are compared to that of animals’. You don’t want to have to deal with the brutal aftermath -- the combination of the worst hangover ever and the unrelenting humiliation. Even if your kind friends who took care of you are over it, there’s still a part of you that will never fully make peace with it -- which, honestly, might be a good thing.
So what’s to be made of all this? It feels a little unfair that I’ve made you endure multiple stories about puking, without some sort of revelation at the end. I hope it’s not your lunch break.
Like most of my entries, writing about this feels oddly cathartic and embarrassing at the same time. And yet, unlike most of my entries, I haven’t exactly imparted much new insight to the reader. I guess there’s not much else to be learned after the first few times you throw up, except to stop doing it already and understand your limits.
It’s the exposed, vulnerable feeling when someone catches you helplessly hurling into the toilet or the street that really stays with me. It’s that look of disgust and contempt mixed with a touch of “I feel bad for you” that no matter how blackout I am, always seems to be freezed-framed in my mind.
I try to draw upon those images when I contemplate having the final drink that’ll put me over the edge. Most of the time, I win. Rarely, as was the case of this recent weekend, do I lose that common sense and find myself catapulted back into the early mistakes of binge drinking.
But perhaps I have learned something. I want to say that I won’t heave again, but I know that’s not true. I’ve learned how to hold my head high after I just self-destructed in front of friends and, yes, even family. That the most traumatizing experiences will pass by eventually. And I’ve learned the cheapest way to make my mark on this world, so to speak.
Photo via We Heart It