For years I thought 1990 was the most pivotal year of my life. I turned 18. My father died unexpectedly and my entire life (such that it was) fell apart. Losing my father set in motion a long and exhausting chain of events that, when I put them in a list, sound a lot like a ridiculous Victorian or Gothic novel updated for the grunge era that included schemers, liars, cheats, and endless betrayals (complete with a pop soundtrack by Nirvana and 10,000 Maniacs).
But now that Iâ€™m older (wiser?) I know that 1993 was the more important year, because it was the year I started to put my life together.
My initial attempts at pulling myself out of the toxic spiral of grief and betrayal were unsuccessful (I wasnâ€™t ready? Or the crazy people I surrounded myself were of no help?) but when I moved to Mackinac Island on July 17, 1993, it gave me the time and distance from my troubles that helped me remember that my life was actually my ownâ€”and I could take charge of it.
By the end of the summer Iâ€™d discovered truly wonderful lifelong friends, had the perfect summer romance, realized that I could stand on my own (and that I liked it that way), and I started to truly grow up and move past the dark years of drama and trauma following my fatherâ€™s death.
So hereâ€™s a snippet of my journal from July 19, 1993, my first entry in two weeks after declaring, â€œI need to get out of this town before I go insane.â€
Note: I’ve kept the angsty melodramatic tones intact but removed some passages about my family drama and all the Douglas Copeland books I had read recently.Â
Life flies by like some insane butterfly, constantly making unexpected dips and turns. Right now Iâ€™m sitting on the top of my bunk bed at Corby dorms, above Rybaâ€™s Fudge Shop on Mackinac Island.
Saturday morning I took the Arnold Ferry and arrived on the island, my luggage ridiculously pulled behind me.
So far the people are nice, I guess, but I always crave the familiar, except when Iâ€™m in the familiar. Except things arenâ€™t so familiar at home afterallâ€¦
I guess it all got to be too much at homeâ€¦so Iâ€™ve resigned myself to living here for now. A long thin room with four girls in two bunk beds. Public facilities prevail.
My self-proclaimed â€œdorm alcoholicâ€ roommate Paula (from Flint, no less) told me that a girl showed up to Corby a few weeks ago, took one look at the bedrooms, turned around and left. â€œNot even here two hours,â€ Paula said. Itâ€™s probably a fib but it makes for good copy.
Iâ€™ve been scooping ice cream. My wrists are sore just writing this. I reek of sugar sticky scream, especially Blue Moon â€“ the scourge of my existence.
Yesterday, Paula and I were at the marina watching the sailboats come in. The winner, The Windquest, was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Starting to read The Color Purple today. Will switch to using a purple pen.