Droopy brown ink danced sporadically up and down my forearm. It read “U R ON ACID” as goofy smiling faces snickered up at me.
My senior year of college I took LSD with my best friend Porter. At the time, I had flirted with all kinds of party drugs. I was a music major and everyone was having their fair share of illegal substances. It was just something we did; don’t judge me.
I stuffed markers, coloring pencils, and blank pieces of paper into my purse before I left for Porter’s that day, hoping I would create something beautiful under the influence. I didn’t feel the LSD until an hour or so after we stuck the tiny bits of acidic paper under our tongues. When time seemed like it began to slow down, I had already started doodling.
I saw so many things on that piece of paper, like my mind had opened up to so many new worlds. I would draw a line that led to another line that led to another image that led to yet another line. I constantly tried to sketch the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, and I was convinced he was my muse, perhaps even a spirit guide for the “trip.” He ended up turning into a white bunny that then morphed into a fat cat. My original piece even started off as an old hunchbacked man. When you’re on acid, you realize how lovely interpretation can be. They’re not quite variations on the same theme, but they are all somehow connected and still hold value in your mind.
I never once forgot I was on drugs, which happened a lot back when I took magic mushrooms a semester beforehand with Porter. I felt like I lost my mind on shrooms; I’d see faces of people I knew but couldn’t remember what our relationship was or why I was even thinking of them. We were afraid we’d experience disorientation again and decided to write “U R ON ACID” on both our forearms in brown sharpie just in case.
My shrooms trip made me feel more spiritual and the overall high was more intense, but when I took LSD that day it was a much more pleasant experience. I could only conjure up happy thoughts, like I was incapable of thinking about anything else, nor did I want to think of anything somber.
As the hours passed and I sobered up, I realized how horrible my drawing was. It turned into a pathetic doodle that any five year old could make. Since LSD is a man-made drug, you will probably never have the same experience again. It’s what makes the drug amazing, albeit dangerous. I looked down and just saw droopy, brown ink. It danced sporadically up and down my forearm. Goofy smiling faces snickered up at me, and I told them to shut up.
I was ravenous the entire time, yet fully capable of normal bodily functions. I also successfully used the microwave and made us instant popcorn. In his kitchen, I hallucinated and fell in love with his wallpaper. The orange floral patterns moved and breathed, winking at me with every coil of their leaves. The hallucinations were similar to my shrooms experience; stagnant objects and everyday things came to life. It definitely wasn’t as strong as shrooms and the visuals were also not what I expected from an LSD trip. No rainbow colors or flashing beams of light like you see on TV; just reality on a different plane.
An hour or so after we started Porter began to lose his mind and started jotting down his thoughts. He started with one piece of paper and a few hours later, there were hundreds of papers piled on top of his bedroom floor. We realized later on it was all a journey to find himself, because in the beginning we were in two different worlds. He said he was afraid we’d never find each other.
I couldn’t believe how much I wanted to trip alone at first. When Porter first got the drugs from a grad student, I was seriously thinking about taking it by myself. I realized how dangerous it was and I couldn’t have imagined a better person to trip with than him. I felt so connected to him, like we had known each other in the womb. When you take drugs with someone, you feel an instant bond.
As we were coming down, we went back to my apartment and Porter’s boyfriend joined us along the way. We gorged on spicy wings and talked about our “trip.” I appreciated this trip because like with all drugs I took in college, I felt like I shed a layer of myself and felt the separation of body and soul. When I was high, I saw my soul as connected to the earth and all consciousness, and felt open and receptive to all things.
At the time I was always in a state of melancholy, and it was a reason I wanted to experiment with drugs. Porter’s boyfriend said it was because I could see the beauty in things, even when there was darkness in them. During that trip, I didn’t think about monsters or any surreal creatures that constantly pervaded my thoughts, nor did I let my mind wander to them. Instead, I focused on positive things, and heard Bob Marley serenading me at a private concert in my brain.
That experience made me realize I preferred confronting my demons when I was sober, and it’s been years since I last touched a drug. My LSD trip made me realize much I valued my life; how everything I think and feel is wholly me, and that no one will ever know what that’s like. Individuality is, after all, what gives life meaning, right?