Yes, it’s true. I used be a groupie. Well, sort of.

I was about twenty years old when I met the woman who I’d become good friends with. She was married and had two kids, but she still liked to have a good time. Her husband was a guitarist and so was his best friend. Eventually, they decided to start a band. Once they found their drummer and bassist, they chose a name and started making music.

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Me in my party days. On my wrist is a ribbon from a bottle of Patron Silver. Mmm. Margaritas.

Before all this, I wasn’t really into metal. Correction: I loathed it.

Something changed when I heard them playing. They didn’t have a singer just yet and I thought maybe the growling was the reason I hadn’t liked it before. The instrumental music was actually my favorite part. There is something about the guitar chords they played that gave me goosebumps. Their drummer was talented and their first bassist was decent, and what he lacked in talent, he made up for in flair as he flung the instrument around on the stage.

I was there for their first show. I was there for just about every show. I was there when the first drummer left and another came in. I was there throughout each bassist. (Good bassists are hard to find apparently, but eventually they found a good one.) I was there for the inevitable band name change. (It’s like a right of passage. You aren’t a real band until you’ve changed your name at least once.)

I helped make the t-shirts and I helped them out when they needed a basket girl at one of their shows (girl who walks around with a basket collecting donations for the band at a non-cover charge event.) I helped them hand out flyers on the busiest street in town and I even designed some promo material for them.

Of course, there were parties. We’re talkin’ crazy parties where we went through more than one keg of beer–sometimes up to three kegs of beer in one night. It was with these people that I drank my first beer, took my first shots, and mixed my first margarita. (Patron Silver for this girl.)

That whole phase of my life was rather exciting, but it wasn’t really me. Sure, I cared about my friends. I cared about their success and I genuinely liked their music, and liked it even more when they got a female lead singer/growler. (She was actually pretty fantastic.) The thing that wasn’t me, was the partying. Yes, I did enjoy myself. I drank a lot and had a 21st birthday I can hardly remember. It was fun, but while I was in with this crowd I didn’t write or do any of the things I had loved to do before. I lost myself for a while, but then I found myself.

The great thing about losing yourself in a crazy party phase is you can explore another identity. It’s a part of you that some bury deep down and others let run wild. For me, it was part of myself that I kept in a cage and decided to let out for a little while.

Eventually, you are given a decision. Do you want to keep that identity or do you want to find yourself? I decided to find myself. My friends, however were not given the decision at the same time I was. Or maybe they were and they made a different choice.

We lost touch. Sometimes I’ll see one of them and say, “Hi,” but most of us seem to have gone in our own directions.

The point is, I don’t regret that part of my life at all. I needed it. I had always been the responsible type and hanging out with them was like a vacation from myself and my responsibilities. It also gave me fuel for my writing. It taught me about conflict–because you know, you can’t have a party without drama–and life. Real. Raw. Crazy. Life.

Maybe one of these days I’ll write it all into a book, change the names and possibly embellish just a little, and you’ll get a glimpse at this time in my life. Although, I don’t think I’ll have to embellish too much. We had some very interesting times that would probably make most of you blush or laugh uncontrollably.