I remember my first experience with getting high as clearly as the first time I had sex. The question of nature versus nurture is an age-old argument. I say both have a huge impact on why some people decide to experiment with drugs/alcohol, but I definitely lean more to the nature side of this argument. I’m pretty sure the first time I smoked a cigarette somewhere in my mind I knew I was going to be a smoker. I smoked my first cigarette alone early in the morning in an old abandoned cemetery behind our house. I continued to do this every day. I enjoyed being alone, and I felt very grown up. I would steal one of my Dad’s unfiltered Camel cigarettes every morning. Having a smoke before catching the bus to school became a ritual like brushing your teeth.
That day in eight grade middle school bathroom, when Wynn said let’s get the fuck out of here was the day I left my childhood behind, and took my first steps towards becoming a juvenile delinquent. She had issued an unspoken dare to cut class which was something I had never done before. We waited for the next class bell to ring, and while everyone else obediently went to class we sneaked out the side door. My heart was racing. I was so scared, and excited that I failed to entertain the thought of how I would get back in time to catch my bus home without being caught. I never even asked Wynn where we were going, I just went along with this girl who was a complete stranger. Behavior I would later label as “sheep-like” to my own now adult children with a devastatingly harsh tone of negativity.
We walked to Wynn’s house which was about seven blocks away from school. On the way she told me that her parent’s would be at work and that we could hang out there until I needed to get back to catch my bus home. When we got there her older high school aged brother was already there hanging out with a couple of his friends. He asked Wynn “What the fuck she was doing home, and who the fuck was I?” She sarcastically replied “The same fucking thing you’re doing.” He and his friends bust out laughing, and then they asked us if we wanted to smoke a joint with them. Her brother looks me over for a second, and then asks me if I smoke pot? I was determined to keep my seemingly bad-ass image in tact with Wynn so I said ” Yeah I do.” Looking back I’m not sure he bought that answer. Next he lit the joint, took his hit, holding his breath he passed the joint to his friend.
I watched their every move so I could imitate what they were doing to hide the fact that I had just lied my ass off. After each of his friends took a hit the joint was then passed to Wynn. I watched her to see her reaction. She smiled at me, took her hit as nonchalantly as she had smoked her cigarette in the school bathroom. Then she passed the joint to me. Everyone’s eyes were now on me. Without hesitation I took my first hit, and tried to hold my breath the same way I had seen the others do. I was not successful! I began to cough, and choke so hard that my eyes were pouring out tears. I thought that I had just exposed my huge lie, and I was humiliated. I waited for them to call me out on my lie, but they just busted out laughing saying “That’s some good shit right?”
I was completely unprepared for what happened next. Almost instantly my eyes felt heavy, and peculiar. My mouth felt dry, (I was experiencing what I would later be told was “cotton mouth”), and then I began to find everything that was being said absolutely hilarious! I looked around at everyone else, and they seemed to be feeling exactly the way I was feeling. I don’t think I have ever in my life laughed as hard as I did that day. We talked about the craziest things continuing to laugh at every sentence. Wynn was completely amused by my reactions. Next came the most indescribable feeling of hunger, another label I would come to know as the “munchies”. We all raided her refrigerator for something to eat. I had completely lost track of time when suddenly I was filled with panic about how to get back to school in time to catch my bus!
Wynn’s brother laughed at me and said “You can’t go back to school all stoned, and shit we will give you a ride home.” The incredible laughter filled high was now being replaced with an immeasurable amount of paranoia. I just cut three classes, and smoked pot for the first time in my life. I was so afraid to go home, and face my father. A man with a demeanor so harsh he had actually made other grown men cry during fits of anger. Dad was not like other people’s fathers. He was an (unknown to us) undiagnosed mentally unstable violent man. Obsessed with monitoring my every move. Dad was a heavy drinker so I think the rest of the world (like us) thought that alcohol was the reason for his constant violent raging outbursts. I was completely panicked, and paranoid about facing him when I got home! The strange thing was that even in the midst of my incredible fear, I knew I would do this again. 😉