1. Having Sex With Someone I Didn’t Love
I was never raised with the mentality that I had to wait until marriage to have sex. In fact, I was encouraged to take my time in getting to know someone I loved, in all aspects, before ever considering a walk down the aisle. My mother always told me that sex was something to do when I was truly ready, and with someone I trusted and loved. And that’s how I approached it. I wouldn’t have sex with someone unless I loved them. And then, I had sex with someone I didn’t love. And the earth didn’t crumble apart. I wasn’t struck down by some Zeus-like lightning bolt. I just had sex (cue The Lonely Island ft. Akon singing). In fact, buckle your seat belts ladies and gents, it happened AGAIN. And I have zero regrets, because it actually reminded me of the relationship I have with sex. I don’t necessarily need to be madly, head-over-heels in love with someone to have sex with them, but there needs to be substance. And had I never experienced meaningless sex, I wouldn’t have truly understood just how important an emotional connection is for me to get off. YA KNOW WHAT I’M SAYINNNNN? No, really, anyone else not able to orgasm without love? That’s a hit title for an R&B song if I’ve ever heard one.*
2. Not Going Away to College as a Freshman
I really fucked up in high school. Like I’m talking I almost didn’t graduate type fucked up. After my father passed away during my junior year, I decided school could kiss my ass. I isolated myself from my peers and felt actually sick on the rare occasions I showed up to class. I’d have a headache/stomach ache/fever/body chills/heart attack, and miraculously, as soon as I stepped into the car with my mom and she whisked me back home, all my symptoms would disappear. I just couldn’t bring myself to be at school. I wanted to escape into Friends episodes and never leave. I wasn’t ready to leave the nest. I just wanted to graduate and go to the community college my father taught at. I knew that despite being 18, I was nowhere near an adult and not ready to be on my own. It’s an important realization to make, and one that you should NEVER feel ashamed of. We aren’t all ready to go away at the same time. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I ended up getting my act together and rediscovered my love for education. I transferred to UCLA after completing my general ed requirements (and saved a ton of money, ayoooo). It’s true, sometimes when I was on the couch watching sitcoms with my mom every Friday night and all my friends were partying together in the dorms, I questioned if I made the right decision. But now, a few months shy of graduation, I’m so glad I did. There is not one right college experience. And I’m grateful for the one I’ve had.
3. Getting a Tattoo (or two…or three…)
I currently have three tattoos all strategically placed in areas that you may or may not ever see (mmm, scandalous). And I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that I’m not done getting them. I have specific areas on my body saved for artwork to represent my future children (but not my partner, sorry bro, but that’s just a no-go). However, I wasn’t always the cool, hip chick you see today (l hope you heard Phil Dunphy’s voice when reading that, because that’s basically how it would sound if spoken from my lips). In elementary school, my mother went to New York on a trip and when she came back, she had little paw prints inked on her ankle. Button-upped eight year old Ari was absolutely appalled. “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR BODY?”I demanded, melodramatically throwing my empty packet of Gushers on the floor. Fast forward 10 years, and I was getting my first tattoo with my mom, matching ones at that. And when I decided to get a second tattoo, I started to notice people around me having concerns. Because somehow if they didn’t remind me that it would be permanent, I would not have known. WAIT, THIS WASN’T SHARPIE? IF ONLY SOMEONE HAD WARNED ME FIRST! I have absolutely no regrets when it comes to getting my tattoos, and I know that as I get older and enter different phases of my life, I will still not regret having a memento of where/who I was in the past. Not to mention, tattoo acceptance is becoming more and more part of our society. Just look at Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas 2013, who competed in the Miss America pageant with very a visible tattoo on her side. Sharon Pearce, president of the Miss America Organization, said, “We believe each contestant definitely has the ability to show their individuality. We’re happy to support them.”I have a hard time believing this would have been the case even 10 years ago.
4. Not Getting Black Out Drunk My 21st Birthday
I remember it, and didn’t throw up. BOOM. Not sure why feeling horrible the next day is expected to be a rite of passage. We watched The Oscars, drank champagne, and my friends got me a gluten-free cake. I cried because I was so touched. And then gave a speech about how much I loved them, and we all cried more. It was a beautiful birthday, but I definitely didn’t drink the way you’re expected to on your 21st. But don’t ask about my 22nd birthday… * R. Kelly, this sounds like the perfect album name for your next project. Have your people call my people.