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thought i was a donut, ya tried to glaze me

6.26.2007

what was I thinking when I said it didn't hurt ?

I'm 21 now, which, depending on who you ask, is either young or old. I'd be stupid to think I was the latter--old people are wise, right? And they have jobs? But I have had a few years of livin' under my belt which means I have digested tons of advice. Some has been unsolicited, like when the lady giving me a pedicure suggests I also "get eyebrow wax!" or that time I got into a car accident on Ocean Parkway and hoards of people filed out of Coney Island Hospital to offer suggestions on what to do ("don't call insurance! not worth it!"). Then some advice I ask for, like tips for the perfect blow out, or if I look better in brown or black.

A year into my 20s, I've found that some advice matters more now than ever. Like that blow-out advice. Or one very important piece of advice from one of my favorite professors, Barry Sherman. Advice I don't remember verbatim but will try my best to fill in the blanks.

.........
It was one of the last classes of Visual Aesthetics, Spring 2006. Sherman asked who was graduating, and a few students reluctantly raised their hands. He smiled.

"I'm going to give you a piece of advice now. I'm going to let you know that your time after college will be some of the most miserable of your life."

We all groaned. Was he seriously telling us this?


"It's not always going to be easy. If you go to Grad School the people won't care about you and the professors are even busier than they are now and they don't give a shit about you! And if you get a job, well, that's even worse. You won't have a lot of money. You'll feel abandoned, alone..."

I spoke up.

"Sherman," I said, "that's the most depressing piece of advice I've ever heard."

He smiled again.

"I'm just telling you the truth. But listen to me. There are three things you need to remember. Three things to get you by. Don't do drugs. Don't gamble. And most of all, don't kill yourself. If you find yourself at a low point, think of me over your shoulder, behind your reflection in the bathroom mirror, like Yoda. Think of old Sherman telling you this--it gets better. Believe me, trust me, it does. I don't remember how old I was when I realized it but I remember this; I was walking from my apartment to meet some friends for dinner. I had an apartment, I had a steady job that was paying me money in something I liked doing. And I walked by a restaurant that was advertising a three course steak dinner--I don't remember how much--but I said to myself, 'if I wanted to, I could go there right now and pay for dinner'. And that's when I realized I was out of it. It was over, it got better. I was free. "

Most people aren't honest when they tell you how it really is. Most poeple gloss over the truth, and forget about how it was for them now that they're out of it. But I'll be forever grateful for hearing it before I even though I'd need it; for hearing this:

"Believe me when I say--it's not going to be easy. But it won't always be so hard."

1 comment:

Elona said...

I agree with his advice. Now I'll give you some advice: write something for Late Night Wallflower!

I wonder if my writing has even improved?