This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

My History of Alcohol

Multi-language beer bottle. Illustration by Xochitl Castaño.
Illustration by Xochitl Castaño.

I’ve been twenty-one for two months. A little more than two months. The day after my birthday, my boyfriend and I ordered draft beer and crab cakes at a local pub. I was affronted because they didn’t card me.

I’ve been drinking intermittently since the end of eighth grade — June of 2009, when I had just turned fifteen, or was about to. Of course, for the first three years of possible alcohol imbibition I hardly ever did it. Maybe that’s not “of course” — high-schoolers get fucked up too, I suppose. The problem is availability. Sure, I drank during high school! But not frequently.

blurry tequila shots
Photo by Ben Sutherland.

I shouldn’t admit this but one time my friend and I shoplifted pear-flavored vodka from the Lucky store in Hercules. We brought empty water bottles and a big purse. Nipped into the bathroom to commit the crime. I was an incredibly dumb kid.

My real bad-choices drinking happened the summer after I turned eighteen, when I briefly lived away from my parents. I like to tell this funny-but-embarrassing story about how I vomited on a girl — it was our first date! — because I could not handle myself and how she was really nice about it and we kept romancing until she went back to school in late August.

smudgy illustration of a girl toppling over
Illustration by Mike Lay.

Probably the same month I kissed a friend out of the blue at a party and it was so awkward. Earlier, or maybe later, I invited some dude from OkCupid to visit the apartment; he assaulted me on the elevator when I made him leave. Ugh. I was only brave enough to berate him over text the next day. Those incidents made me calm down and abstain more. I learned that I should stop mixing drinks once I feel buzzed. Since then I’ve tripped up a couple of times and gotten stupid, sloppy drunk.

beer in a glass
Photo by Rob Nguyen.

Only a couple of times. At the Andrew Jackson Jihad concert in San Francisco, but I don’t remember doing anything to be ashamed of. A weekend in May while watching TV with my boyfriend and his roommate, who I harangued about Mad Max for hours (among other topics, including his business). Hindsight is twenty-twenty and memories are mortifying.

Despite all that, so far I have managed to keep my relationship with alcohol healthy. It’s a miracle because depression runs in my family — it ran right into me — plus alcoholism afflicted one grandfather and at least one great-uncle. I see my peers use alcohol as an oblivion accelerant. When I “party”, I do the same thing.

classy illustration of gin and martinis
Illustration by Adam Grason.

I would get drunk a lot more if I were less stingy.

Today I got home from work and went straight for the shandy in the fridge. I drank two cold bottles. I drank a glass of lemonade — just regular lemonade — that my dad made. I contemplated all of this, my emotional relationship to alcohol and how I have to be careful not to drink every night, not to let it become my default way to soothe frustration. There is too much frustration for a habit like that.

A Drink for the Dog Days

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine. Glorious red hair and red lipstick.
Image via the band’s Facebook page.

The phrase “dog days” makes me think of Florence Welch singing “The Dog Days Are Over”. I hear those words, and immediately the song starts playing in my head. Plus, look at her pretty hair! Not relevant, but I’m a sucker for redheads.

This week I’m assembling the third issue of Balm Digest, “Medium-Sized Dogs”. Dog days are on my mind — literal dog days — but that got me thinking about the figurative ones. I guessed the expression came from watching a hound dog pant on the porch during sweltering August. Location: the American South. Wrong and wrong! According to Etymonline, the idiom’s origins are Greco-Roman. Sirius, the bright Dog Star, ascends just when summer starts getting horrible. Hence, “dog days”.

Traditionally, afternoons in July and August are the most miserable, so hot that you can’t even take a nap. Here we are in January, no need to be cooled down, but I decided to make up a summer cocktail recipe anyway. Lifestyle content is fun, and I’ll be damned if the weather obstructs my whim!

Honey Mint Julep

  • tablespoon of honey
  • shot and a half of vodka (because bourbon is gross)
  • stir thoroughly, aiming for syrup consistency
  • fill the rest of the glass with chilled mint tea
  • stir everything again to make sure the honey is dissolved
  • add ice if you feel like it
  • (alternately, put the ice in first and drizzle honey over it)

Yay! Get winter-drunk on a cocktail that makes no seasonal sense!

Pour It Up

The alternate title for this post was “Consciousness Streaming 2k14 Before The Year Runs Out”.

So about those collages… (Spellcheck always wants me to mean “college” when I type “collage”, and I’m like, “lol spellcheck do u even know me”.)

It’s hard to figure out your own art. It’s hard to decide what it means. Does it need to mean something? I can’t trace where the thoughts come from, because they arise from media and dreams and relationships. The media that I’m drawn to and the dreams that I have and the relationships that I seek are all based on each other, so what’s a girl to do?

The Weeknd in concert
Via @abelxo on Instagram.

“This ain’t nothing to relate to.” A line from The Weeknd’s ballad about young adult stardom, “John Carpenter”. He repeats those words over and over again after the unsurprising verses about fame and drug abuse. Okay, technically every one of his songs is about young adult stardom, partying too hard and trying not to get knocked down.

“I tweak all day just to sleep at night.
God damn, I’m high.
My doctor told me to stop;
he gave me something to pop.
And I mix it up with some Adderalls
and I wait to get to the top.
And I mix it up with some alcohol
and I pour it up in a shot.”

After singing through more hedonistic angst, The Weeknd says, “This ain’t nothing to relate to.” What a relatable statement that is, though! What a Sylvia Plath type of thing to say. It is very relatable to feel alone at a party, for your success to be filled with ennui.

The mood reminds me of another song in a similar vein: “Tuesday” by I Love Makonnen, featuring Drake.

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