(rant warning, and lengthy personal experience stories warning)
A belief is running rampant across the youth in schools and universities that the only way to enjoy oneself and that involves a lot of crowd, noise, loud music, ingesting large amounts of mind altering substances and trying to get someone of your sexual preference interested in you. I am not exaggerating. I know people (and not only one or two) who you ask what they like to do or what they plan for their freetime and the response is: “…um… drinking. partying. what else can you do?”
For someone such as me who lives with not only a common sense but also a faith that dictates that one should keep their own body in the best condition they can, this is incomprehensible. If someone understands the party culture mentality, please try and enlighten me, I do want to try and understand my peers.
I will share some stories of personal experience with this phenomena.
- This is an extremely common discussion I hear almost every day in the hallways: Someone is talking about how drunk they were last night/weekend, and how sick they felt afterwards. And they brag about it! They take pride in… making themselves sick by poisoning themselves. What?
- In my high school especially: It as considred perfectly normal that after each bigger party some people would end up in hospital with alcohol poisoning. People (including those who went to hospital) would laugh and brag about it afterwards and talk about how much fun they had and how great it was. Last time I checked, something that you do to yourself that ends you up in the emergency ward was called self-harm.
- My last personal encounter with the party culture, after which I vowed to stop trying to give “being sociable” a chance and instead do what I wanted, was freshman’s weekend at the university when I was a first year. The organising committee hauled us off in rented buses to a training area in a military base, where the next 3 days were spent with unbelievable amounts of beer being dispensed, lots of loud music, nonexistent hygene and living conditions, aswell as being at the mercy of the drunk-out-of-their-wits organisers. There were two party tents set up where we were supposed to sleep in sleeping bags, and where it was routine that people puked, urinated or excreted on the floor. Beer was used not only to drink in huge amounts but also to throw around, and I am very thankful for my quick reflexes because I managed to dodge every flying beer cup. The music was so loud that I had hearing damage for days afterwards and I am not sure I recovered 100%. The organisers thought up “games” and activities for us that their drunk mind found funny (designed to humiliate people or make them more drunk) and non-participation meant being scolded and labelled antisocial. People often passed out. On top of that there were really disgusting toilets and no showers. I seriously considered escaping, except that it was a military base and if anyone crossed the perimeters of the training area into the rest of the base area there was a possibility of being attacked by guards with dogs (I saw them, they were indeed their and not just a lie to deter us). I thought I would rather take my chance with drunk kids than trained soldiers with their dogs. And many participants thought we were having fun.
I do not see this as fun. I see it as causing harm to one’s body, distorting perception and blocking alertness and awareness. I believe we should honour, cherish and be greatful for our body. A human body is capable of many amazing things. It is also the only vessel for our soul that we get in this life. When feeling sick, which is what happens after these “parties”, it is the body complaining, sending signals that what is being done to it is unhealthy. If someone keeps poisoning themselves, not only are they being disrespectful to that awesome gift that is the body, but are deteriorating their health and physical condition, which can lead to permanent health problems or even death (the expression “Comadrinking” exists for a reason). I am not an antialcoholic, I am against making oneself sick, and my arguments extend to to anything that makes us sick because of lack of moderation.
I believe that, instead of destroying, we should *use* that awesome gift that is the body. First of all, if we are charged with having a body, we should respect that and keep it in the best condition possible. I also believe that the Divine would want their people to be capable of surviving unexpected circumstances that may befall them. Some are called to practice and train skills, for example if they have the path of the Warrior in them. I admit that my physical conditioning is not like that of a Navy SEAL or something but I do my best to keep fit, give my body what it needs (nutrition, sleep…) and refrain from poisoning it. The result is that I am happy with my looks and capabilities.
Secondly, if we have a body capable of things, we can have fun in so many ways! We can do awesome stuff! (Such as archery, running, knife throwing, climbing stuff, messing around outside, whatever else.)
Thirdly, what we also have is a mind, capable of equally awesome things, that is also a wonderful gift! It enables us to think, reason, solve problems, and have imagination. I think with enough imagination one can never be bored.
Finally, I think the best way to enjoy life is not to dull perception and awareness, but to strengthen it! With open eyes to the world around us we can see beauty, opportunity, life and magic surrounding us.
The Divine have breathed life and my soul into this body, and I am very greatful for it every moment. I have also just recovered from an injury, which showed me again how valuable being healthy and capable is. This is why I will honour the gift of my body by taking care of it, and continue my training with commitment. I enjoy my gift, and encourage all others with all my heart to do the same.
kitty hugs to all~