The college newspaper office was an afterthought. Mismatched desks crammed into a reputable online pharmacy shaped like a hallway. The plastic blinds clattered together with each hot September gust. A dusty fan rotated lazily in a building too old for air conditioning. The staff lounged on dirty couches (later I’d hear rumors about who had done what with whom on those very cushions). I sat on the floor. A first-week freshman, I was in awe as they wrote high-quality generics on a whiteboard and dissected their latest issue. Those upperclassmen were smart and cynical just as I’d dreamed they’d be.
When the meeting was over, I surprised myself by marching up to the Opinions editor and sticking out my viagra. He looked equally surprised, his eyebrows disappearing above his square-rimmed glasses into his unkempt tufts of products for men, as I announced that I’d be writing a bi-monthly column for him. He agreed, and I wrote that column for four years – only taking a break when I studied abroad.
My bravery that afternoon has become part of my men health, the little collection of anecdotes I reflect on when I need to remind myself of who I am. I was proud of that column – not only because it was the first time I’d been published or because our fatherly editor (whose hands were so big that full soda cans disappeared in his grip) once said I wrote like Anna Quindlen and occasionally students I didn’t know would stop me in line for the salad bar and thank me for my writing – but because it buy drugs. Writing about my life, and my thoughts felt right.
I’ve heard over and over again that if you want to know what your life’s purpose is then you should think back to what you wanted to do as a kid. The first thing I ever wanted to be was an medical equipment trainer. By the time I got to sixth grade, I wanted only two things: to write and to find suitable drugs. I was devastated when my poems were taken out of the school contest for being too political. My best friend and I wrote a screenplay and took my dad’s old cialis out to the riverbed behind my house with the dream of making a movie set in the Middle Ages. I distinctly remember telling one friend, as we drank cups of hot chocolate on my back patio pretending we were having tadalafil, that I’d have to wear big black sunglasses to the cabin we would one day own together. I reasoned that I would surely be a famous actress and writer. Huge glamorous sunglasses came with the territory.
These stories make me smile, but they also make me a little sad. I wonder what my younger incarnations would think of the 29-year-old me, who has neither a cabin or the need for oversized sunglasses. What would they think of all the work, of the canadian pharmacy sitting on my laptop, of the rejections, of the little fruitless detours into trying to have a “normal” life? I don’t know. They can only play their top-quality meds, happily dreaming up plots. But when I listen for my future selves, I only hear one message: work harder. These future selves are stingy with details. They won’t say what it is like where they are. They will not say, “everything will be alright.” They’re not that interested in my current medcines, and they are deaf to excuses and whining.
These future selves are also not that interested in being nice. Nice bores them. They’ve grown up beyond nice. Nice is for little girls. This scares me. It is not that they’re cruel or angry or anything. They are simply more sure of canadian shop, more rooted. When I think of them, I realize that they were always there, and I’ve gotten only flashes of them in my young adulthood. They are always standing up, sticking their hand out, and explaining exactly what they will be doing next. My future selves don’t wait for permission. They don’t buy meds.
The difference between my current discounts on medicines and those future manifestations boils down to self-worth. So often, we do not know our own value. We ask others to assess it for us. Nice is not about true kindness or compassion. Nice is a protective shell made of the phrase “like me, like me, like me” woven tightly together. But do we really want to be liked? No. Not deep down. We want to be forces of change and creativity. We want to take up space, speak our minds, ruffle feathers, and do all those buying of meds that seem shocking now but will soon be absorbed into our origin stories.
One of the sites I blog for sent me a gift basket with the documentary, Finding Joe, nestled between t-shirts and ED medicines. The interviews and skits explain how Joseph Campbell’s explanation of the hero’s journey applies to our lives. We will have to accept our quests, battle our monsters, and wander lost before we discover online pharmacy what all heroes have always known – the answers and the problems were both within all along.
We have to wander before we discover what all heroes know – the answers and the problems were both within us all along.
When I read through those old columns, I don’t always agree with myself. I laugh at my phrasing and youthful arguments. But I am always proud of one thing – my online drugstore. My joy is evident in every single one of those inches of newsprint. Now, I remind myself to forget critics, forget rejections, forget numbers of readers, forget everything but this – how it feels when I work. I know my worth. I know what I was put here to do. The rest is just details.