In this picture, I was terrified. High on attention, half drunk, adrenaline pumping, mind racing, I was being pulled in so many different directions. Integrity wasn’t my priority. I sacrificed my reputation for a short-lived, 15-minute high which wasn’t worth the pain and anguish. I was an alcoholic and addict whose moral principles were on the backburner.
That morning, I woke up around 10am and had 3 missed call from Mike “The Situation.” I was blacked-out drunk the night before and had unwittingly passed out. Irritated at having missed his call, I called the number back. One of the other cast members answered the phone and, in my hungover stupor, my sister and I headed over to the Jersey Shore house. My intuition roared. This was a bad idea and I knew it. I was too sober to embarrass myself on national television so, in true alcoholic fashion, I took a shot and headed out the door.
Upon arriving at the house, my insecurities exploded. I could see the cast members, minus Mike, laughing and mocking us. It was obvious we were the butt of some joke. A normal person would have beelined right out the door, but we were not normal. We subjected ourselves to situations—pun intended—that were precarious and dehumanizing. We were too deep into this game; I slapped a smile on my face and succumbed to the mental torment. I felt belittled, inferior, and extremely unwelcomed. I wanted to jump out of the window and run away as fast as I could. I wanted to be blacked out, I didn’t want to feel a damn thing.
When Mike emerged from his room, the look on his face made my blood run cold. He clearly didn’t know we were coming over. I felt embarrassed and foolish. My sister and I were pawns. I looked over and saw fear in my twin’s eyes. Her anxiety was palpitating faster than my heart. I reassured her everything was going to be okay and we went with the flow. I remember looking at Mike’s greasy face and thinking to myself, “What the hell am I doing?!” He looked like a cartoon character. He was pompous, uninteresting, and arrogant. The only thing he had going for him was his celeb status. The conversation was duller than his intelligence. I needed alcohol to make this “Situation” attractive.
When we opened the front door, we were greeted with dozens of paparazzi taking photos and hollering. I had never experienced anything like this before. It was pure adrenaline. The adverse emotions I was feeling minutes earlier evaporated. The cameras, photographers, and gathering crowd were exhilarating. I was high and practically sober. The attention was more intoxicating than alcohol. For a few minutes, my mind escaped.
Studying abroad in Italy was a dream come true. We toured cathedrals, boated around Capri, and wine-tasted in Sonoma. From the outside, I was a typical college student. Even though I partied with my classmates, I always took drinking too far. Although the sights and history were impressive, partying was far more invigorating. All of my “normal” classmates were taking in the views while my sister and I were taking in the 2 minutes of fame. This attention was more addicting than alcohol—it was toxic.
Behind the smile was a young girl unprepared for the consequences. She was anxious and aloof. Her hunger for attention was self-destructive. In this moment, she dropped all standards and played with fire. She put herself in a position that would sacrifice her integrity as a woman. Her poor choices left her vulnerable to strangers who degraded and harassed her.
Alcohol eradicates your inhibitions. It holds your rationality hostage and steals your sanity. Your core, along with your values, becomes nonexistent. Normal people would avoid the tragedy of Jersey Shore; the mere thought of being caught dead with these clowns would send the average, rational person running for the hills. When you’re an addict, you experience these insatiable cravings; you want more of whatever gives you pleasure. Being in front of the camera was absolutely exhilarating.Chapter Four. Girl, Wasted.