My 2 Year Adventure with After Hours Parties and Glow Sticks…

My first year in Tampa was so much fun!!! My new best friend Techie and I were inseparable, I had bought a brand new 1997 VW Cabrio convertible and my job with AT&T was going great. When it was time to renew my lease I upgraded to a one bedroom not only on the Gulf, but also right next to the pool, it was perfect. My bills now with the expensive car payment and the raise in rent were more than I made in a month, but somehow I always managed to stay above water. Dating was getting much easier for me mostly because I was keeping my heart out of it and just having a good time. Then I met Darren, who would soon introduce me to a whole new way to party.

He lived in Clearwater so most weekends I would pack a bag and my Mr. Travis and I would head to his place for the weekend. Up until now I had no idea about life on the water. We would take his boat to sandbars, anchor and then party with all of his friends, and he had a lot of them. Little did I know the majority of the people around me were not drunk although it seemed like they were.

Then one weekend, about a month after we started dating, a few of his friends and I were hanging in the water when I noticed one of them acting very strange. She was rubbing the ocean water all over her body like it was lotion then would go over to the others and start rubbing on them very lovingly, all of them. She kept saying how soft the water was and how it felt like butter. I didn’t want to be rude so I chose not to ask what the hell was going on, but soon it would be very clear.

I’ll never forget that day. It was a beautiful outside, not a cloud in the sky, music was playing, people were dancing, swimming, and laughing all around me while I sat in awe of my new life. Then Darren called me over to his boat, sat me down with a very serious look on his face and proceeded to ask me if I knew what ‘X’ was. I did and I had tried it once, but was ashamed because it was an illegal drug and I didn’t want anyone to know that I had anything to do with that. Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that I tried it?

Let’s take a stroll back to Orlando for a minute. Back in the day I loved to call radio stations to see if I could get on the air, I know, lame, but it was so much fun. This one time the DJ and I kept chatting once we were off the air. He thought I sounded really cute and asked me if I wanted to meet him at a small party that night? Well duh, of course I did, he sounded cute too so I accepted and brought my friend Kim. To my surprise this was not a normal party, there were only about 10 people and no alcohol. How in the world do you throw a party with no alcohol? Once Kim found out what was going on she was elated and couldn’t wait to participate. They asked me how many pills I wanted to start with. Pills, what pills, I hated pills, I wanted Vodka not pain killers. But they didn’t have pain killers; they had ecstasy, better known as X!!!!

I had heard about this drug and from what I knew, it was bad, especially with a name like X. They all seemed to get a good laugh at my expense but I was scared, I didn’t want to be at a party with drugs, what if the cops came? After a lot of reassurance from Kim who had done it many times I agreed to pay $25 for one which at the time was a lot of money for me.

Much like my neighbor’s Marijuana layer, the scene in this apartment was set as well. There were lollipops, water bottles, glow sticks, black lights, techno music, massage oil and pillows and blankets scattered all throughout the living room. I’m sure there are many of you out there who know exactly what those things are for but I was clueless and soon to find out how they all help to make the experience better.

I was terrified as he handed me that pill but having Kim there was great and everyone was so, let’s say ‘helpful’ with my experience that I figured it would be ok. Once again I was the virgin in the room which made it even more fun as they all waited to see how I handled my first ecstasy experience. The lights were low, the music was high and at first it was odd, but each of us paired up as we all started giving back massages to help ‘kick it in’! Then it happened…! There is really no way to describe the sensation you feel but in a nutshell, it was wonderful.

Your mind and body go through all kinds of feelings and sensations but mostly you feel a lot of love and affection, I wasn’t expecting that at all. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely messed up but it seemed all I wanted to do was hug on everyone. Your sense of touch is heightened which explained the massage oil, your jaw tends to wiggle back and forth a lot so the lollipops were a big help, dehydration is a big side effect and until then, I did not like techno music, but that night, I couldn’t get enough of it. The music was a big part of the experience as well, it tends to increase your buzz, can’t explain it, but it does. After a few hours I was starting to come down from this unbelievable high and I wanted more but didn’t have any cash, just my checkbook. Being new to the drug scene I didn’t realize how dumb I looked when I asked the dealer if I could write him a check for another one, but he was cool and gave me a free one.

This brings us to the next day, the reason I never had any interest in doing it again. My body felt like it weighed a million pounds, I was exhausted, a kind of tiredness I’ve never felt before and I didn’t like it. I spent the entire Sunday in bed chugging water while going through a serious depression, which come to find out, was all part of the process.

So when Darren asked me that day on the sandbar if I wanted to try ecstasy, I said absolutely not, it was Sunday and I knew I had to work the next day. But he was very convincing and I knew I had plenty of sick days I could use to call off work, so after a bit of coaxing by him and every other person there, I gave in and so began a whole new way to party…

The first time M.J. and I hung out…

Ok Mom and Dad, this is where you should probably stop reading and skip over the next few episodes of my life in Tampa.  Now I wasn’t completely naive when it came to marijuana, it was always around, I mean everywhere. Especially college, but for whatever reason, I never tried it. Ok, well, that’s not entirely true….let’s rewind a bit.

Back in Orlando we had these young neighbors who loved to smoke it. They lived right across the hall from us and every time they opened the door, a cloud of smoke would fill the hallway. Growing up a tom boy, I seemed to always have that token male friend in every city I moved to and in Orlando, there was Jeff.  He was awesome and a big pot head but he knew I had no interest in it so he never once pressured me to try it.  One afternoon we were on our way to see Beavis and Butthead the movie and as we were heading out, we bumped into our hippie neighbors. They smelled like a weed farm and of course Jeff was all over that. They invited us in to have a quick smoke before the movie which I was against fearing the long arm of the law would surely bust us for just being in the room. Once that group of veteran smokers found out that I was 23 and had never been high, it was all over.

Although it was early afternoon, the room was dark with various scarves draped over the windows. Monty Python was playing silently on the TV with the Door’s in the background secretly setting the mood. I had literally walked into a marijuana layer filled with all types of gadgets to get you high. There were hookahs, one hitters, joints, bongs and pipes of all different shapes and sizes with several kinds of pot to choose from. It’s as if they knew I was coming and had set the scene perfectly. I remember trying to smoke a cigarette years back and after many attempts, there was no way I could get that smoke in my lungs so I was quick to let them know that their pot was wasted on me as I had no idea how to inhale. But they were relentless and with my good friend Jeff by my side, I felt it was safe, so I gave in.

First they handed me a small glass pipe where you had to put your finger over a hole and suck in as hard as you can.  So I did and like I told them, it didn’t work. Now we all saw the plume of smoke come flying out of my mouth but I was sure that it had never made it to my lungs, so we waited a few minutes to see how I felt.  Next was the hookah which looked like a tall genie lamp with 4 long, skinny tubes connected to the top.  This was much easier to smoke so I hit it a few times, waited and again, no effect.  Everyone just stared at me waiting for the buzz to kick in as I sat there innocently thinking that nothing was going to happen, but oh how wrong I was!! Feeling defeated in their quest to de-virginize me, I was handed a J, which I felt at ease with so away I puffed and puffed and puffed!!!

By this time we had missed the first showing of the movie so there was no rush to leave just yet, the next one was a good hour away which was plenty of time for me to experience the magnitude of what I had just done. The novelty of the newbie had worn off so the group had broken up into various conversations while I sat in a chair wondering why everyone room was moving in slow motion. As I waved my hand back and forth in front of my face it dawned on me that it was moving at a snail’s pace meant that I could actually be high. Recalling the next 30 minutes is tough but the last thing I remember was me on the floor in tears with about 7 people, pointing and laughing in my direction. It was hysterical and to be honest, there was no particular reason for the laughter, but I couldn’t stop, it was fun.

We thanked our new friends as we headed out the door. It was still day time so the light helped to snap me out of it….for the moment. We rushed to the theater but it was packed which meant we had to separate and sit alone. At this point I felt just fine and figured the best part of the buzz was behind me until the movie started. In between laughing until my face hurt and continuously feeling like the person next to me could smell the pot and at any moment would turn me into the police, it was as great day. The funny thing is, as much as I liked it, there was not one moment after where I ever thought about trying it again. Drinking was my baby, not smoking, so it would be at least 2 years before Mary Jane would enter my life again.

So this brings us back to Darren, my wealthy boyfriend in Clearwater who decided it was time to introduce me to the underground, which was about to change everything…

Don’t give up on me, I’m still learning…

For almost 4 months I’ve been sharing my deepest and darkest past in order to give my readers a good idea of who I am. It’s important to know that I’ve worked hard, struggled, took jobs with low pay to get my foot in the door and clawed my way to happiness to get here.

The plan all along for this blog was to show women my age, 45, that no matter where you came from, if you try, you can change the course of your life…as many times as you want. Right now, I’m in route to change mine again, so this blog may suffer a bit, but, promise, what I’m experiencing now will make for a great read later.

Saturday mornings, tune in, don’t give up on me if the material goes astray…I’m still learning, experiementing and growing… see you next weekend and THANK YOU SO MUCH….muah! I can’t wait to share my travels with you…

Tampa Changed Everything…

It’s tough to remember the exact date, but I’m thinking it was near the end of 1998, I was 26 and had been living in Tampa for about a year drinking my face off celebrating the fact that I lived in such an amazing place. It was a long way from my home in Indiana and a huge leap from Augusta, Georgia. The sun never stops shining there and having a brand new VW Convertible made everything even sweeter. The weekends would include hitting the beach, boating or even laying in bed all day watching movies on one of the few rainy days we had. Friends were hard to come by, at least real ones. I was lucky to have 2 or 3 that I could count on but it would have been nice to have more.

You know from my past stories that a few years back while living in Orlando, I had smoked marijuana once and tried ecstasy once, which were both really great experiences, but neither held my interest. Luckily for me, I had never been addicted to anything, and to this day, that still stands, but after spending one weekend in St. Petersburg experimenting with mind altering tablets, everything changed.

My boyfriend at the time wasn’t a millionaire, but he definitely had money and he loved to spoil me with it. So after he convinced me to try those funny little pills again one weekend while beached on a sandbar, I couldn’t get enough. To this day I often wonder why, after my first experience with them I had no interest. Either way, he had the money to buy them and I was a ton of fun on them.

Now, my bestie Techie wanted nothing to do with this new crowd I was hanging with and he often tried to pull me away from them, but I was sucked in and didn’t want out. My weekends were spent awake, going from one afterhour’s party to the next, barely eating and always having a blast. If you’ve never experienced this type of party scene, it’s awesome and you will meet the most interesting people. I would be lying if I said stay away and never try it because for me, the mind altering experiences seemed to open up parts of my brain that had been closed off my whole life.  I’m not telling you to go out and get stoned; I’m also not going to tell you that all drugs are all bad. Alcohol is much worse in my mind, but everyone does it and just because it’s legal, it’s ok. You have to make up your own mind about what you want to put into your body and how you handle it makes all the difference in the world. It’s tough so sit here and tell you about the bad things I’ve done in my life, really tough, and I’m sure some of you are going to judge me and that’s ok. Most of my bad choices have helped me and for that reason alone, I’m glad I made them.

After a few months, the boyfriend and I broke up but along the way I had met tons of cool people who knew how to get more and where the parties were. Eventually I dragged my bestie into all of this nonsense, but to this day, I believe the only reason he came along was because without the safety of having my ex boyfriend with me during the craziness, he needed to be there to protect me. To be honest, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times he ever seemed high. I swear he would carry around the same beer and just fill it with water pretending that he was participating.

During all of this, my job was going well with AT&T and they had just switched my shift from 11 to 7 so I could cover the West Coast. To me this meant that I could party even longer on Sunday nights…life was great but getting very expensive! By the time I cashed my check, it was already spent on bills, a ridiculous car payment, rent that was more than I could afford and now the infamous pills I loved so much. One by one, this small group of friends starting forming, we were like the cool kids in St. Elmo’s fire but the rated D version for ‘Druggie’s’.

1509 was the club where we would all meet; dance until they kicked us out and then the search for an afterhours spot would begin where we could continue to party until dawn and then some. Eventually we all found a place we could hang every weekend, far from the masses, located on a lake and with very few neighbors. This compound was owned by a husband and wife team who love to entertain, were hot, rich, fun and knew how to throw a party!! Pretty much everyone was coupled up but I was quickly accepted into the group as one of the only single girls and trusted by all the women.

Every weekend for around 2 years, this was my home, except when we decided to take our show on the road.  I can’t even begin to explain to you how outlandish our parties were. The majority of them included costumes, DJ’s, nitris tanks with dresses, ate ups, bubbles, fantasies, balloons, feather boas, magic carpet rides, carnies, dunk tanks, lingerie, hotel rooms and so much more……you just had to be there. But overall, I met and am still friends with some of the greatest people you could know. Entrepreneurs, Scientists, Parents and Business Owner’s, all just people who want to escape from the real world and play around in Alice’s land for a while.

That’s why I mentioned earlier that people who experiment with illegal substances aren’t all bad, even the substances themselves are all bad, it’s how you use them. Unfortunately we lost a few friends along the way who didn’t know when to stop, but with anything in life, moderation is the key.  Whether you eat too much sugar and develop diabetes or drink too much alcohol and crash your car, we are all human and allowed to make mistakes. Have fun and enjoy life, just try not to hurt yourself or anyone along the way.

Even though my Boogie Nights lifestyle only lasted 2 years, I have no regrets, not one! Well, I do have one, I neglected my doggie, Mr. Travis, even typing this right now, it brings tears to my eyes, but I made it up to him after I was done. For the last half of his life he lived like a King. Losing a few friends along the way also breaks my heart, my friend Noel, the sweetest soul with the biggest smile, somehow got too wrapped up in all the madness and lost his life; I think about him often and wish he was still here.

In the end, I walked away a better person, they don’t call them mind altering drugs for no reason, those pills unlocked the deep, dark sadness that had plagued me all those years and helped me to see who I really was, which was someone who needed to grow up and change for the better.

Eventually our group disbanded and most of us went our separate ways but I bet that majority of us have nothing but good thoughts about our time at Camp Pico and are happy to say that we dared to be different!! Maybe one day I will give you all of the juicy details of the after hours life, but for now just know that those days of experimenting with drugs are long gone and bittersweet!

There are so many stories I want to tell you, but I can’t…

So far you know that I do a lot of dumb things, I tend to take action before thinking about the consequences, I Love animals and now a days literally cry anytime I think about the furry ones who aren’t with me anymore. I’m gullible, hard working, loyal and for some reason, never know where I’m going (directionally challenged) BLESSED…BLESSED and BLESSED and Stubborn, I could go on and on….but mostly I’m passionate about everything, even things that seem so silly to others and moreover….my life has been crazy, record book crazy.

Right now I’m sitting in a hotel room in S. Florida because my awesome yacht clients like having the vessel for family at night, which is a first, but so great. I still get paid a full day, which is typically 16 hours, but this week, it’s 6, 8 hour days….yahoo!!!!

My original goal was to have a new story about my life for you each week, but being on my phone, a computer, online, all of it, well…..it’s just not me. It wasn’t until 2012 when I broke down and bought my first smart phone and it quickly turned me into that person who jumped at every ding, bell and whistle it made. So, after a few months, I notified my call list that I was now turning my green little Android (which blows away the IPhone, just my opinion B.W.W… haha) onto silent and it was the best decision of my life. Long story short, I am sorry for not delivering every Saturday morning at 7:29 my ridiculous life, but I am getting better.

So far I’ve been catching you up on my past so that you had a better idea of me, but so many amazing things have happened to me in the last few years that’s it’s time to fast forward for a bit. Like tonight, for some reason tears were flowing but I’m so happy. I was crying from my gut…the cry that you can’t control where your heart beats so fast and so slow at the same time you feel like you might die. Why? Maybe it’s the holidays which haven’t really been holidays to me for years since I’m usually working and away from anyone I love. As a matter of fact, this year was the first time Christmas week was spent with many of the people who have come to be my family in S. Florida. My friends here are my surrogate family and all of them are amazing, you know who you are and the ones who are miles and miles away….I think about you every day!!!!!

I don’t know why the sadness but I can tell you that it made me pick up this damp laptop and start writing. The New Year always seems to get the mind thinking about what you may want to leave behind and what you plan to do in the future. For instance, the 2 years just before yachting, when I had a normal 8 to 5 schedule, I started Martial Arts right before the New Year, which helped me to pretty much live a clean life, the majority of the time. Drinking, dating and going out weren’t so important anymore, I dedicated my time to work, Taido, sleeping, the gym with Eduardo (who kicked my ass with about 400 squats per class) and my dogs, my loves. At 41, I was in the best shape of my life and completely in control of my destiny, which was so far from where I had come from.

I left my day job during the 2nd year of training but within 6 months my yachting career took off and by the 1 year anniversary of being my own boss, I had to quit the dojo. Travelling kept me from away from home so much that it was impossible to keep up. So much so that 17 months ago I gave up my home of 5 years and decided to live out of my suitcase, but that’s another blog.

I’ve definitely kept up my shape but my muscles have been replaced with sugar, fat and alcohol. So for 2018 I’m not going to fool myself thinking that there will be no more fun and bad choices, but I do know that this year it’s time to stop F**king around. 46 is just around the corner and although I don’t look my age, my insides aren’t as tough as they used to be and my body, brain and all the things that keep me going are all I have so it’s time to start taking care of them.

For those of you who have been reading from the beginning, cheering me on and sharing your advice, thank you for going on this journey with me. And for the newbie’s who are probably wondering what the hell this blog is about….stick with me because my story, the whole story, is so unreal, you will swear I made it up. I just have to figure out how to write it all down so that you keep reading and I don’t lose any of my clients, ugh.

Make 2018 you’re BEST with the goal of making 2019 even better and please keep reading! I have no idea what the next story will be….maybe you can help me figure that out! Mua