Mea Culpa: Confessions of a Baby Sister

A fancy, edited version is featured on Salon.
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No bride expects her maid of honor to be high on drugs on the big day – especially when it’s her younger sister in the supporting role.
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After church, photographs, and the limousine ride, we arrived at the reception. Between greeting the guests, gift giving and more photo sessions, I found a pocket of time to slip away to meet my dealer in the hotel lobby.
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Armed with a half gram of cocaine, I locked myself in the bathroom stall. Lifting my strapless, floor-length bridesmaid dress, I straddled the back of the toilet with my dyed-to-match pastel pumps. I held my over-teased, Aquanet sprayed hair with one hand, and snorted through a rolled up dollar bill with the other.
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Within seconds, my heartbeat kicked up a notch, and the music echoing through the hall began to thump a little louder. The subtle vibration of the metal stall reminded me where I was, but I wasn’t in a hurry. As long as I heard music, I knew I had time.
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A couple more lines, pantyhose adjustment, and lip-gloss reapplication later, and I was ready to head back. Before reaching the door, I cursed the fluorescent lighting framing the mirror, surveyed my nostrils, and wiped away any evidence of my secret.
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Stepping closer toward the ballroom, I couldn’t escape thoughts of my upcoming toast.  I was brewing with cocaine confidence, but still had no idea what I was going to say. I just knew I had to say something.
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At 18, I had little life experience, so mom served up a crash course in maid of honor etiquette the night before the wedding. My toast was to be light-hearted and personal – a trip down relationship lane about my sister and new brother-in-law.
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“Just share a nice story about them.”
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The problem was, I didn’t really have any stories, nice or otherwise. Short of all the pre-wedding hullabaloo, my sister and I barely spoke.
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“Okay” I agreed.
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The ballroom was packed. When my time came to toast the happy couple, my eyes wrestled with the spotlight, and landed on
Christine Macdonald

Do you obsess or let go?

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Being obsessive is a pain in the ass.

In the last two weeks I have submitted two essays; one was to Salon and the other to the New York Times. I’m beside myself with angst.

What if I were published? What if I’m not? What if, what if.

I don’t need anyone to tell me I am being obsessive. My gastrointestinal track lets me know just fine. On the upside, I think I’ve lost some weight with all the excitement.

It’s been said the trick with this whole writing thing is to submit and let go. How does one do this? Where do I sign up?

I hang on so much I get blisters. Not just with columns I am hoping to get published. I allow things in my life to fester – I Google old boyfriends (for no reason other than idle curiosity). I look back so much I need a rear-view mirror for my obsessions.

So tell me – are you a hanger-on-er or do you learn to let things go?

I’d love to hear your stories on how you handle waiting for news.

Christine Macdonald