I am a waitress…wait, let’s back it up – I was a waitress. I was a waitress at a shitty restaurant around the corner from my house and I worked there for over a year, which is probably longer than I’ve ever worked anywhere in my entire life. I’ve also never been fired from a job before. Like, ever. But this story isn’t about me being sad or angry over being fired, or being upset because I’m no longer a waitress at a shitty restaurant around the corner from my house. This story is about how I managed to get myself from drinking a beer in my friend’s backyard in yoga pants and a flannel on Sunday night to accidentally stepping on Lena Dunham’s dress while wearing Louboutins on a red carpet in LA on Monday.
It’s also about living with Bipolar disorder.
I guess I can start with that – the bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II about two years ago after a bout with depression left me twenty pounds too light and completely suicidal. One night in August, I went AWOL off my meds, drank a bottle of Captain Morgan, and woke up in the psych ward of a hospital in South Jersey with no solid recollection of having gotten there. I was there for a week, and during that time the staff determined that I wasn’t just depressed, but manic. Now, I don’t hear the voice of God or think that TV newscasters are sending me secret signals – that’s full blown Bipolar I – but I do go through month-long spurts of time where I don’t sleep, I barely eat, and I seem to jitter around from place to place, acting more sociable than usual and thinking I’m invincible and that maybe there might be some greater force perfectly designing my life for me. There are so many innumerable facets to it and I’m mapping out the basics to validate my experience to you, an audience of strangers, but I know that I shouldn’t have to. I know these things. I know that I’m a girl with Bipolar II disorder who has opted against taking medication to control it. I know that I’m a landmine.
So lets get back to Sunday night, when I had just gotten off my shift at the shitty restaurant around the corner from my house. I sat in my car, debating whether or not to meet up with friends and ultimately decided to go for a few beers. I don’t know if anyone reading this is from New Jersey or is familiar with my friends, but “a few beers” usually means four glasses of wine, a Yeungling on tap, and a shot of house tequila. So…we had a few beers.
Fast forward to three am when myself and the last two friends still standing from the night were sitting (punny) around a backyard table, sort of drunk. I decided to FaceTime this guy I’ve recently been talking to who happened to be home in LA for the week to see his family. Brief aside: I met this person on Tinder, which I had downloaded for seven hours two weeks ago at a time when I felt particularly in need of random validation from total strangers who want nothing more than to say “heyy :)” and tell me I have “nice tits”. It’s a truly reprehensible app, but I can’t shit on it too much because it led me to this guy who is arguably one of the coolest, most relatable people I’ve ever encountered. Anyway, we were FaceTiming and what, would you look at that, turns out his family is involved in the production of the Emmys, and what else? He doesn’t have a date for the show, which at this point is commencing in about ten hours.
I volunteered as tribute.
After about fifteen minutes of everyone in disbelief of whether or not this was really happening, I punched in my credit card number and booked a flight. My friend Sam, who is unfuckingbelievable and to whom I owe my life essentially, threw together what turned out to be the most amazing outfit I’ve ever worn, and I shoved it in a backpack along with a few other essentials. Amidst the rushing around, she pressed a pair of strappy, black leather Louboutins into my shaking hands, and said, “If anything happens to these, I’ll kill you.” At 4:30 am, Monday morning, we were in her car on the way to Newark airport.
The thing about being bipolar and also off-meds is that I have to be hyper aware of how my body feels, lest I lose control and wind up in very odd or very dangerous situations. So when I woke up sprawled out across two seats with an hour left of my flight to LAX, I knew that I should maybe feel a little concerned. My phone was dead and I hadn’t packed a charger; I had no way of contacting the guy picking me up from the airport, no way of telling my family where I was, and no idea what the fuck I was even doing. Still, I didn’t feel bad. I felt good. I felt like everything was going to work out because someone somewhere was puppeting my life for me.
This is usually where the bomb drops and some terrible plot twist happens, but I’m afraid I have to disappoint. The guy was there, waiting for me in baggage claim when I stepped out of the terminal, and we made it to his house and ultimately to the Emmys without any snafus. I stepped on Lena Dunham’s dress with Sam’s Louboutins. We were on TV after Sarah Silverman’s acceptance speech. We went backstage and I shook hands with Seth Meyers, congratulating him on hosting a perfect show. We got drunk at Governor’s Ball and I stole a bunch of complimentary lipsticks from the bathroom.
I guess my whole point in this story is to talk about how sometimes the decisions we make in life seem totally unreal. They seem too sudden and too crazy to follow through with, too rash and with totally unpredictable consequences. The Bipolar thing compounds it in my case – I can never tell if my judgment is solid or if I’m being out of control, and yes, I’ll admit, spending seven hundred dollars to fly across the country to meet up with a guy I only just met via a sketchy dating app seems very, VERY impulsive and foolish…but because I made that wild decision, I got to go to the fucking Emmys. And yeah, I got fired from my waitressing job at the shitty restaurant around the corner from my house…but I also got to go hang out with a person who’s company I genuinely enjoy on the other side of the country in a place I’ve never been (and also, go to the fucking Emmys).
A good friend of mine texted me this morning when he found out about my job situation and I think he sums it up best. He said: “Consider this an officially stamped confirmation that getting fired for chasing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was the right thing to do. If nothing else, it’s a good story, but more importantly it’s taking the road less travelled and not letting fear of nonsense “obligations” keep you from having an adventure. Hashtag YOLO is some cringe-worthy bullshit, but the fact is that you really do only get one trip around on this ride of life, and no one has ever said, “I wish I’d spent more time working at my shitty job” when reflecting on the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.”
He also said, “For fuck’s sake Vick, write something.”