I am approaching my 21st birthday (May 11th) and the questions and jokes have already begun.
"You excited about having your first beer?"
"Are you gonna party all night and get wasted?"
"Wow! I though you were already 21. How have you survived working here without drinking your way through it?"
"21? Yay! Drinking age!"
Wow, as I am typing this, someone literally just walked through the door and asked me if I had recovered from Saint Patrick's Day. When people make these comments and jokes, I respond without a word. I just give them this look:
It is with a sick-in-your-gut, knots-in-your-stomach-dread that I face turning 21. I can say objectively that alcohol is not of the devil and that I believe in Christian liberty. I also believe that liberty can be abused and I absolutely believe drunkenness to be sin.
When it comes down to it, if I'm really honest and just say how I feel about alcohol in all it's forms and uses:
-I have serious anxiety associated with alcohol.
-My dad drank, and I have seen first hand what addiction can do to a person. I've seen people get hurt (myself included) and I've seen his life fall apart. I don't want that for me and I don't want to ever get anywhere close to that.
-I've tasted beer and I think it tastes like carbonated sweat mixed with bile. Ewww and gross.
-The thought of willingly ingesting anything that would cause me to lose control of my behavior scares me. There is no way on earth I would do that. That is also why I thank God daily (no joke) that my wisdom teeth came in without complication and I do not need to have them removed. Those loopy youtube videos of people waking up after having them removed upset me. My mom has tried showing them to me because she thinks they are funny. I refuse to watch.
-I've seen people under the influence. They act like idiots, they can be crass, they have no filter, and they irritate me.
-When I am around people that are drinking even if it's in moderation, I end up getting a migraine and most likely vomit from the tension.
-I have a few family members that struggle with addiction. I don't want to test the waters just in case I have the same tendency.
-I hate that 21 is associated with drinking. That's all that the majority of people talk about. I want this year to be bigger and hold more for me than just that.
-Alcohol and mental illness don't mix. My dad taught me that one. I pray that I didn't inherit any of the issues my dad has. But if I have then I will at least control it better than he did.
-There is no way in heck I am wasting calories and sugar on a drink. If I'm cheating and eating something unhealthy, it will either be a cupcake or linguine or maybe just a stick of butter.
-I fast forward through scenes in movies where people are drunk. I have watched every episode of "I Love Lucy", but I do not find her famous Vitameatavegamin episode to be even remotely funny. I also walk away from the TV whenever Otis is on Andy Griffith.
-I am way too cheap to spend money on a drink.
-Even the casual discussion of alcoholic drinks pisses me off.
-I have asked that no alcohol be brought into my home. I feel on edge when I'm around it and I don't ever want to feel on edge in my home. Exception: Wine is allowed for cooking purposes and I have used beer in chili and boiled bratwursts in it.
But, I can't give everyone who jokes about my 21st birthday my list of why I hate booze. So, I typically blush and then make the face.
I do realize that my phobia may be a bit extreme. I would never want addiction to control me and I certainly do not want anxiety to either. But, this is where I am at right now. Right now, 21 is a big & scary number. Right now, I am contemplating taking a few days off of work around my birthday just to avoid people and their remarks. Right now, I am wondering how wrong it would be for me to lie about my age. I don't know about you , but I'm feelin' 22!
21 also scares me because my life is far from where I ever thought it would be at this age, and as I get older the hope of it changing is waning (I know, 21 isn't that old). But, I will trudge on and make it through that odious day.
I will try to make the best of it. The focus won't be on my ability to legally act like a moron, but it will be on 3 things that matter a great deal to me: Family, Food, & Antiquey things. That's right, in keeping with an old tradition, I am spending my birthday with Mom & my sweet Auntie Aud. We will shop all day in antique stores and then come home, play games with everyone (Uncle Dick will join us), and we will EAT!